Lamouchi tiring of Drogba debate

Brasilia: The continuing debate over why iconic striker Didier Drogba is not deemed worthy of a place in the Ivory Coast`s starting line-up appears to be getting to inexperienced coach Sabri Lamouchi.

Lamouchi has resorted to sending on the 36-year-old former Chelsea star as an impact player in the middle of the second-half of their opening 2-1 win over Japan and then the 2-1 defeat by Colombia on Thursday.

The player selected in preference to him, Wilfried Bony has failed to sparkle, despite a goal in the come from behind win against Japan which was largely put down to the introduction of Drogba striking fear into the hearts of the Japanese players.

Ivory Coast remain on course for their first appearance in the last 16 in their third World Cup with victory over goal-shy Greece in their final match next Tuesday assuring them of that.

Even a draw would suffice were Japan fail to beat already qualified Colombia.

However, Lamouchi, already unhappy about what he considered was an unjust result against the Colombians, was having none of persistent questions over Drogba.

"It is important not to get fixated over Didier Drogba, it is only the second match he is on the bench. We were being outplayed, and so it was necessary to make changes," said the coach.

Aside from Drogba, scorer of 65 goals for `The Elephants`, Lamouchi said his other world class star Yaya Toure was returning to his best form after a laboured start against Japan.

He also appeared to imply that his playmaker was maybe not as effective at this level because he did not have the same quality of players around him that he did at his club English champions Manchester City.

"I have always been frank about Yaya`s fitness," said the 42-year-old former French international midfielder, who was capped 12 times but was one of an unlucky half dozen cut from the squad for the 1998 World Cup which France went on to win.

"He is getting stronger, but this is the Ivory Coast and not Manchester City. When he turned up for the pre-World Cup training he was tired and injured. Despite this I found him much better in this game than the previous one."

Lamouchi, who was retained in his post despite the Ivory Coast going out in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations last year, said that if there was one positive to take out of the loss it was that they knew what was required for them to progress.

"We will have to recover from this very quickly and hold our heads up high," he said.

"And go after that win against Greece."

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