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Preserving The Endangered Elephants: What Sabri Lamouchi Did To Save Ivory Coast

Preserving The Endangered Elephants: What Sabri Lamouchi Did To Save Ivory Coast

Young and realistic, Sabri Lamouchi perfectly fits into the whole idea of creating a new generation of Ivorian football kings.

 

An abrupt appointment

Sabri Lamouchi came as a big surprise for the Elephants. No, he was not a newly capped player. He already hung his boots so there is no way for him to be involved in some hardcore pitch action. He took a different role instead.

 

Lamouchi was still a part of the most celebrated squads in the African region, Ivory Coast. Yet, his abrupt appointment meant that the team’s fate is now in his hands.
Many objected with the above-mentioned decision. The Elephants live up to the expectations of being big and to be handled by a plain neophyte, who was on his way to collecting significant coaching experiences, was too much of a great risk to take.
But Lamouchi has no time to be romantic. He expected the criticisms. He expected the mud-slinging spectacle and at the end of the day, delivered the awaited result—Ivory Coast’s third World Cup berth.

 

Confronting the challenges

In handling Ivory Coast, Lamouchi experienced the very same dilemma that Cameroon’s head honcho, Volker Finke had to deal with: a divided squad. The disparities in African football seem to be prevalent and probably, a customary issue that takes time to be thoroughly addressed.

 

But the stars favor Lamouchi. Achieving unity and balance came naturally. The harmony seeped into the mentality of the squad and  so far, it has been their greatest weapon during the qualifiers.

 

However, whilst building a united squad became too easy for Lamouchi, he has another major issue to confront: an ageing team.

 

The French manager is readily cognizant of the fact that Ivory Coast is currently at the zenith of their footballing prowess. The presence of Kolo Toure and of course, the ever reliable, Didier Drogba, ensures their dominance on the pitch. Yet, these two are already on the verge of hanging their boots. Who knows if they will make it to the 2018 World Cup matches?

 

And so Lamouchi rallies for recognizing the talents of new players. He stressed that the squad has plenty of jewels that are yet to be unearthed in order to pursue the Ivorian dream in the World Cup.

 

Lamouchi’s realistic outlook also explains why he is not too shy to admit that the Elephants can only “cause trouble,” but not really dominate in the awaited tournament.

 

Taking the positives

The result of Ivory Coast’s recently friendly against Belgium, has once again, sent alerts to the head honcho’s dedicated critics. The match ended in an even steven stalemate and Lamouchi was neither affected nor discouraged with the results.

 

A true champion, he emphasized the squad’s need to go against a “quality squad.”  He believes that it is only through such process will  he know the true capabilities of his team. It is all about pushing themselves to the limits and knowing how well they can withstand the pressure of the upcoming tournament.
The Belgians are one of the strongest forces in the competition. It has the perfect balance of highly respected veterans such as Vincent Kompany and promising new bloods such as Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. And so to force a draw against them, meant that the Elephants are indeed, serious in making troubles in Brazil.

 

Warriors not tourists

Despite Ivory Coast’s glaring weaknesses, Lamouchi stressed that they are keen on making an impression during the tournament.

 

The squad’s golden generation may end soon, but the young leader will see to it that the birth of new football kings will materialize. They will be the warriors in the pitch, not just mere tourists participating in the festivity.

 

Image Source: MTN Football

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