Ivory power— Côte d’Ivoire


Côte d’Ivoire are seen as Africa’s best chance for World Cup glory. The secret to their prowess is the ASEC Mimosas academy, which not only trains, but also educates young Ivorians – the best of whom have gone on to become some of the world’s top footballers.

ASEC Mimosas academy, World Cup, football

Foreign workers from neighbouring Burkina Faso water the several acres of lettuces, radishes and onions growing in the soil between Abidjan’s lagoon and the luxury golf course. “The earth here is rich,” says a security guard watching over these inner-city farmers from his bench at the entrance to one of Africa’s biggest football clubs.

This is Sol Beni, “the blessed soil” that is home to ASEC Mimosas Football Club. It is not just the earth that is rich. For almost two decades the coaches at ASEC have cultivated some of the finest footballers in…

Côte d’Ivoire

Highs and lows

World ranking: 16th
Number of times qualified for World Cup: Two (2006 and 2010)
Highest finish: First round (2006)
Average salary of a first division footballer: €230 a month
Worst football moment: A crush at the stadium in Abidjan killed 20 people during a World Cup qualifier in 2009
Best football moment: Won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1992, beating Ghana in the final
Football heroes: National captain Didier Drogba, who plays for Chelsea in England, is currently one of the best players in the world and is worshipped in his homeland


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