By John James*
Defeat to Stephen Keshi’s forceful young Super Eagles in the quarter finals turned the dreams of Ivorians to ashes, and everywhere high-flown tributes are being read out to the golden generation of Ivorian footballers who never quite made it on the big international stage. Côte d’Ivoire can look forward to more Nations Cups with Yaya Touré but Didier Drogbas don’t come along too often (he’s pictured above winning his first cap for Les Elephants against Bafana back in 2002). Here, then, is our musical tribute to the fallen Elephants, 2013 edition. We won’t be watching the Ivorians this weekend, but we can at least enjoy their tunes.
As even Ivorians remark, ‘Ivorian a bouche d’eh’ (Ivorians can be arrogant!). One of the hottest coupe decale artists at the moment, DJ Kedjevera, says “Elephants, this year it’s for us”. Drogba says he’s angry, Yaya says he’s angry, the minister of sport is angry, the auntie at the market is angry… so watch out.
DJ Tsunami – the key message – everyone in the squad is ‘dangerous’:
Last year there was a huge number of Afcon related hits. This was my personal favourite from Bebi Philippe, ‘In orange for the victory’, an artist with a bit more musical talent than most in his generation.
Special mention to former Ivorian football star, Gadji Celi, who was a leading member of the 1992 Afcon winning squad and then later turned into a very successful singer.
Finally, let’s go back to 2006 and Côte d’Ivoire’s first qualification for the World Cup finals, far closer to the worst moments of the civil war. The Ivorian squad teamed up with the nation’s biggest group, Magic System, to record one of football’s better squad anthems, in the zouglou style, despite the obvious lack of singing talent in the squad. This really captures the spirit of the times…and of course a lot of these stars are still in the team.
By the way – this is a nice interview with Drogba, Kalou, Kolo, Yaya, Gervinho – find out who is the best dancer, spends the longest in the shower.
* Anglo-Ivorian John James was the BBC correspondent in Côte d’Ivoire from 2007-2012 and set-up the Elephantsonline.com website.