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banner Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Forgotten Elephant marches back
cyril domoraud
Domoraud on one of his rare Inter Milan appearances
A year ago Cyril Domoraud had to bear the humiliation of being force-marched around an Ivorian army camp in a farcical reaction by the country's military junta to the Elephants' early elimination from the African Nations Cup finals in Ghana.

Now he is just plain being ignored by the Cote d'Ivoire selectors, and he is not sure which is worse.

Domoraud was captain of the Ivorian side that did not make it past the first round at the 2000 finals, despite beating their Ghanaian hosts 2-0.

Lama Bamba hasn't called me up even though I was captain of the Elephants for a long time
  Cyril Domoraud
The group were flown from Accra by a military charter plane to Yamoussoukro and then forced to drill around like new army recruits and attend lectures on patriotism as the military authorities berated them for a disappointing performance.

"Initially, we were really mad at what they made us do, but finally it wasn't that dramatic," recalls the 29-year-old defender.

Dropped by Bamba

Robert Guei's junta has since been overthrown but Domoraud has also lost his position in the side as the Ivorians battle Tunisia in African World Cup qualifying Group D for a place at next year's finals in Japan and South Korea.

The Bastia defender won the last of his 27 caps late last year in the Nations Cup qualifier against Libya, but since the departure of French-born coach Patrick Parizon, Domoraud has not been called up.

"I don't know why. You have to pose that question to Lama Bamba, who is the new national coach.

domoraud in Uefa Cup final
Domoraud tackles Parma's Hernan Crespo in the losing 1999 Uefa Cup final
"He hasn't called me up even though I was the captain of the Elephants for a long time," says Domoraud.

"He hasn't given me any explanation, never even called me on the phone. I haven't had any contact with him since he has become the national team coach," Domoraud bemoaned.

The break from international duty, however, might be working to the full back's benefit.

New lease of life

Domoraud has recovered from a series of niggling injuries and won a new lease of life since joining Bastia in October.

The Corsican club threatened in the early part of the season to win the French championship and are still due to finish in the top half.

Domoraud has been almost ever-present since signing from Inter Milan, where he played just six matches last season.

The Italian adventure promised much but delivered little in the end for the Ivorian, although he did get a game in the second leg of the Italian Cup final against Lazio last May, with Inter held to a goalless draw at the San Siro to go down 2-1 on aggregate.

domoraud in bordeaux kit
Domoraud was given his chance in the big time with Bordeaux
It was the third cup final loss in his career, beaten in the final of the French Cup in 1997 while playing at Bordeaux and then losing in the 1999 Uefa Cup final when Marseille were crushed in Moscow by Parma.

Domoraud was born in Lakota in Cote d'Ivoire but lived in France since an early age.

Early talents

His two younger brothers also play the game professionally, with Jean-Jacques at Besancon in the third division and Gilles playing in Greece.

Cyrille Domoraud started his career at Creteil in 1992 before going to second division Red Star in Paris.

It was after two seasons that both Bordeaux and expatriate Ivorian coach Pierre Plemelding both spotted him at around the same time.

He joined Bordeaux at the start of the 1996-97 season and Plemedling called him up for his first Ivorian cap against Morocco in June 1995.

Marseille bought him a season later and from there it was onto Serie A as his reputation on the European circuit grew.

But while his time at Inter was limited, the experience has helped make him a better player and Domoraud says he has his form back. Now if only Lama Bamba would call .

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