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Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Friday, 1 October 2010 17:46 UK

Didier Drogba denies reports he is quitting Ivory Coast

Didier Drogba
Drogba sat out August's 3-0 win over Rwanda but watched from the stands

Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba has dismissed reports that he has retired from international football.

Sections of the Ivorian media stated that the Chelsea star had quit after his absence from the Elephants' opening squads for 2012 Nations Cup qualifying.

The 32-year-old missed August's victory over Rwanda and then failed to make Francois Zahoui's 20-man squad for next week's trip to Burundi.

"I don't know why there's been any doubt," Drogba told BBC Sport.

"I was just resting as I had two consecutive operations in less than two months.

If the manager calls me for the next game, I'll be on the plane

Didier Drogba

"Then I needed to work on my fitness as well as trying to get back to my best.

"If the manager calls me for the next game, I'll be on the plane."

In June, Drogba had emergency surgery on his elbow to enable him to participate in the World Cup after suffering a fracture in a pre-tournament friendly against South Korea.

Allowed to wear a protective cast by Fifa at Africa's first finals, Drogba played all three matches, scoring once, but was unable to prevent the Elephants exiting in the first round in South Africa.

Late in July, Drogba then underwent an operation on his groin but recovered in time to contest the Community Shield against victors Manchester United three weeks later.

After next week's Group H clash in Bujumbura, the Elephants do not play another qualifier until March.

The 2006 and 2010 World Cup finalists currently lead their qualifying group after just one of the six qualifying rounds.

Drogba is the Ivory Coast's leading goalscorer in history, having netted some 45 goals.

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see also
Drogba to miss Nations Cup opener
29 Aug 10 |  African
Drogba not ready for Ivory Coast
06 Aug 10 |  African
Drogba undergoes groin operation
24 Jul 10 |  Chelsea

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