Fans have reason to doubt me - Ivory Coast boss Lamouchi

New Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi
Lamouchi understands he has a lot to prove

New Ivory Coast manager Sabri Lamouchi has conceded he will have to overcome a legitimate wariness from the team's supporters at the start of his tenure.

The former France international was appointed in the role, after Francois Zahoui was sacked, despite having no experience as a senior coach.

"I understand the dissatisfaction of some Ivorians. They certainly have reason to doubt me," said Lamouchi.

"But there is always a starting point and I hope my first time will be good."

Lamouchi will very quickly get a chance to ease fears, given that his first match in charge comes only five days after he took the job.

Ivory Coast host Tanzania in a 2014 World Cup Group C qualifying match on Saturday. The following week they travel to Morocco for a tie against the Atlas Lions.

The Gambia are the other team in Group C.

Another man with a point to prove is striker Didier Drogba, who will play for the Elephants for the first time since missing a crucial penalty in February's African Nations Cup final against Zambia.

Drogba's miss came in normal time and would have given Ivory Coast the lead. Instead the game went to a penalty shootout which Zambia won 8-7.

Since then, Drogba has experienced the euphoria of winning a penalty shootout, when less than two weeks ago Chelsea beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League.

Now his focus returns to the national team.

"As usual, we have put ourselves at the disposal of our country's ambitions," he told a news conference in Abidjan as the Ivorian squad arrived from a training camp in France.

The match is one of 20 at the weekend as Africa begins the race to decide the five countries to go to Brazil in two years' time.

There are 10 groups to be decided between now and September next year, after which the winners will go into two-legged play-off matches in October and November 2013 to decide the qualifiers.

Ivory Coast are the continent's top ranked side.

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