ABIDJAN - Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba
is set to make his return to international football next week
for the first time since the World Cup but his Chelsea team-mate
Michael Essien is continuing his hiatus.
Drogba was named on Friday by the Ivorian Football
Federation for their friendly against Mali in Valence, France on
Tuesday which could be his first appearance for his country
since the 3-0 World Cup win over North Korea in June.
Drogba, with 43 goals in 71 appearances, had asked to be
excused from the Ivorians' first two Africa Cup of Nations
qualifiers but is now back in a 22-man squad named by coach
Essien last year said he was standing down from
international football "for the foreseeable future" to focus on
his club career and is again not available for Ghana, who play a
friendly against Togo in Antwerp, Belgium on Tuesday.
Essien, who missed the World Cup in South Africa, has
suffered two serious injuries while on international duty.
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