Drogba Wows Windhoek

African soccer superstar Didier Drogba jetted into Windhoek on Monday on a whistle-stop tour of the Namibian capital as part of a promotional campaign for Windhoek Lager.

The former Cocircte d’Ivoire captain arrived at the Hilton Hotel at 09h00 in the morning but Namibia Breweries executive committee members, fans and the media were kept waiting for more than an hour as Drogba freshened up after an overnight flight.

The wait however did not deter the enthusiasm and when he finally arrived the paparazzi were all over him as he was introduced to Namibia Breweries managing director Wessie van der Westhuizen and Olthaver and List chairman Sven Thieme.

At the ensuing press conference, Drogba soon endeared himself to the audience as he answered questions about his life and career.

“I want to thank you all for coming out today and I’m happy to be back in Africa. I’m very proud of Namibian Breweries and for a brand like Windhoek Lager to become an international brand and to be able to work with me. I think it’s a fantastic project,” he said.

Drogba was selected by Windhoek Lager’s consumers in southern Africa as an African who had achieved world class status but remained true to his roots, and he said that he could relate to the campaign.

“I started at a young age in the Ivory Coast and nobody knew me it was a long journey but I managed to play for one of the best clubs in the world and that’s the same kind of success I wish for Namibian beer. For me it’s the best beer in Africa and I’m very proud of this relationship.”

“I’m very happy to be here and to know more about Namibia. The first thing that comes to my mind is that you have one of the best athletes in the world (Frank Fredericks) – I’m a big fan of his and I had the pleasure of meeting him. So just for that I’m very happy to be here,” he added.

Drogba said he was proud of being part of a great Ivory Coast team, even though they never won the African Cup of Nations trophy.

“I did everything to try to win but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. We played against great opponents when Zambia and Nigeria won the finals, our generation was good but the opposition was better, so I have to give them credit,” he said.

“But if you look at Holland during the time of Johan Cruyff, they played the best football but they did not win anything. We also didn’t, so I suppose you can say we had the same kind of luck if you can call it that,” he added.

Drogba said education was very important for young footballers, since not many become successful players.

“Only a few make it as professional players but a lot of players don’t make it and don’t know what to do. I had a lot of friends who were more talented than me and who did not make it, so I think it’s important to go to school.”

When questioned who the best defender was that he played against, he finally settled for Jamie Carragher of Liverpool and Carles Puyol of Barcelona.

“It’s very difficult for me to say, but I must say a few made my life very difficult. Jamie Carragher (of Liverpool) was a very tough one and so was Carles Puyol of Barcelona. I always like to relate to the person as well and we had tough games on the pitch but afterwards we could share a drink,” he said.

And who was his best player ever?

“I’m a big fan of Maradona. When I was young he was one of those players who got me into football. But as a striker my favourite player was Ronaldo, the Brazilian phenomenon – he was a complete player who changed the way people saw a striker.”

Drogba said he enjoyed challenges and was looking forward to more success with Chelsea.

“When you achieve something you get a great return – people love you and expect more from you. I really like that challenge to push myself and to see if I can do better than before.

“To come back to Chelsea was a big challenge for me. When I left people said that I was finished, but to me the challenge is to show it is possible to come back at 36 and still be able to challenge your team mates and to help your team win trophies. I want to win the Champions League again – that’s what drives me,” he said.

“We football players are very lucky, we work hard for two hours a day and then you have the whole day to do what you like. I know where I come from so I appreciate that every morning,” he said.

And then Drogba was whisked away for more interviews and promotional work with Windhoek Lager, but he still made some time to sign autographs and pose for photos with his excited fans.

Source : The Namibian