Ivory Coast realise size of challenge, says Drogba

RUSTENBURG, South Africa Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:02am IST

Ivorian soccer player Didier Drogba who plays for Shanghai Shenhua in China attends the African soccer player awards ceremony in Accra December 20,2012. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Ivorian soccer player Didier Drogba who plays for Shanghai Shenhua in China attends the African soccer player awards ceremony in Accra December 20,2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luc Gnago

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RUSTENBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Ivory Coast are under no illusions about how difficult it will be to win the African Nations Cup, the favourites' captain Didier Drogba said after a nervous 2-1 opening win over Togo on Tuesday.

"Of course we want to win but 15 other teams want to win as well," Drogba told reporters at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.

"It's going to be hard, like today. It was very difficult and all we can do is give our best."

For a fifth successive tournament, the Ivorians are favourites to win the title but they have failed on their four previous attempts.

"People want us to win all the games, but it's not possible," Drogba said. "This is football after all."

Drogba said Ivory Coast, Africa's top-ranked team, did not under-estimate their opponents from west Africa.

"It was a tough game but we expected that," he said. "Togo gave us a good fight but we've also made a lot of mistakes and this is something I hope we can change in the next games.

"Still, 2-1 for us is a great win even if it was difficult," said Drogba who was substituted around 15 minutes from time after a subdued performance.

Midfielder Yaya Toure struck early for Ivory Coast but they had to wait for a goal from forward Gervinho to seal victory two minutes from time.

Ivory Coast face Algeria and Tunisia in their remaining group games.

The Elephants have twice been African Nations Cup runners-up in the last four tournaments, were semi-finalists in 2008 and were knocked out in the last eight in 2010.

(Editing by Mark Gleeson in Rustenburg and Ed Osmond)

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