AFCON 2015 Nations Cup without Drogba, Eto’o like Champions League without Ronaldinho, Zidane

Ivory Coast striker pays tribute to Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o ahead of AFCON 2015 clash against Cameroon on January 28

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Salomon Kalou play

Salomon Kalou

(FIFA)
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Ahead of Group D’s biggest clash between two of the toughest teams in the 2015 African Cup of Nations, Cote D’Ivoire and Cameroon; the former’s striker, Salomon Kalou says it is unimaginable for the two already retired internationals not to be a part of Africa’s most prestigious football competition.

Speaking to FIFA.com, the Hertha Berlin striker said the absence of the two veterans is like playing Real Madrid without Zinedine Zidane and Barcelona without Ronaldinho in those days. However, he assented that they will not be missed much, as players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi heralded new eras, so have younger players come up in African football

''It's difficult to imagine. But it's a little like if you tried a few years ago to imagine Barça without Ronaldinho and Real without Zinedine Zidane, and yet today we have Messi and Ronaldo.

''Both teams always have new players who come in and take over.

''Even if the two teams will miss Didier and Samuel greatly, a match between Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon is always huge and it's been that way for a while.

''There's a big rivalry between the sides and that will carry on, even after the retirement of those two great players.’’

Kalou, ended with describing the pair as legends of African football and role model for youngsters

''Both players pushed African football beyond its limits. Today, Eto'o and Drogba represent not just Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon but the success of an entire continent, and they've set an example for youngsters across the whole of Africa, and not just in football.

''The fact that they experienced success with their countries and also the big clubs they've played for has opened doors for all of us. Thanks to them, when an African player joins a club, people respect him more. They've set the best possible example of what you can expect from an African player.’’

Cote D'Ivoire kick start their AFCON 2015 campaign against Guinea in Malabo at 5pm Nigerian time with Cameroon facing Mali three hours later.

The two rivals play play the last Group game on January 28.

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