In an exclusive interview, Côte d’Ivoire striker Salomon Kalou talked to MTNFootball.com about his club, his career and Afcon 2013.
We are going through a difficult phase, and I am a bit like the team. When I adapt to the manner of play of my teammates and the Ligue 1, I think things will go better.
The two go together, when I’m on form, I am able to bring something extra to the team.
It’s not the same thing, it’s like saying Eden Hazard is there to replace Didier Drogba, it’s not possible. Eden Hazard was trained at this club, he grew up here, and he was immersed in the club’s system.
He managed to create a family with these young Ivoirians from the neighbourhoods of Abidjan, and that is what made Jean-Marc Guillou successful.
I think so yes, because is it the most prestigious of competitions, and because we were a generation of players that reached the end.
We were together for quite a few years, and winning together with a collective spirit made it even more beautiful; winning it together was everybody’s dream.
You made your international debut in 2007, and at 27-years of age, you are going to compete in South Africa in your fourth Africa Cup of Nations, following those of 2008, 2010 and 2012. What are your worst and your best memories of the Afcon?
My worst Afcon is also my best, and that is last year’s. It was my worst because we lost in the final, but my best because it was my first Afcon final.
But I only want to remember the positive. We went into the final without having conceded a goal and really, we were a solid team. The Côte d’Ivoire team, we’re a team of friends.
Algeria, Tunisia and Togo are good teams, but I think that the team to beat will be Côte d’Ivoire. We are the team to beat in this group.
Amongst the teams that are going to compete in this Afcon, we respect everybody, because this competition has always sprung so many surprises.
We saw Zambia last year. Now there are favourites like Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa who will be playing at home.
It is true that this is a competition that we want to win together, but at the same time it is a very difficult competition to win. We are up against very strong teams, and each one is bent on beating Côte d’Ivoire.