World Cup 2006 News
Fan of the Day: Ivorian expat dreams of World Cup peace
By Andres Burgo Jun 11, 2006, 15:44 GMT
Argentinian player Gabriel Heinze (L) fights for the ball with Didier Drogba (R) from Ivory Coast during the group C preliminary match of 2006 FIFA World Cup between Argentina and Ivory Coast in Hamburg, on Saturday, 10 June 2006. EPA/Rainer Jensen
Hamburg - Romani Momdon is hoping an Ivory Coast triumph at this World Cup can help his divided country heal its wounds.
Momdon, who runs a medical equipment suppliers in Paris, is one of many Ivorians who left Abidjan for France, the former colonial power.
The national team's captain, Didier Drogba, also first went to France to play football before his 25-million-euro move to English champions Chelsea.
'We both left but it doesn't mean we don't worry about what is happening in our country,' says Momdon.
'Perhaps if Ivory Coast do well here, people back home can come together,' he says.
Ivory Coast has been cut in two by civil war since September 2002, with rebels controlling the north and the government the south.
The resulting social and economic crisis has plunged a country once held up as a West African example into what Momdon described as a 'reservoir of dirty water.'
One of the main reasons for the war is the dispute over Ivorian identity, with northern Ivorians frequently saying they are discriminated against.
That is where football might help as the players for the Elephants, as the national team is known, come from all over the country.
Those from the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south play together and celebrate together.
'That is what we need,' says Momdon. 'I really believe we can bring people together with what we do on the field.'
Drogba's team made Argentina dig deep to win their opening game 2- 1 Saturday, but the Africans can still qualify for the second round if they can overcome the Dutch and Serbia and Montenegro in their next games.
'At least we will have given a positive image of the country,' says Momdon.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur