Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Whitecaps Focused on Voyageurs Cup despite Disappointment of Not Facing Drogba

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Whitecaps Focused on Voyageurs Cup despite Disappointment of Not Facing Drogba

Article excerpt

Drogba disappointment doesn't deter Whitecaps


VANCOUVER - Didier Drogba's toe injury snuffed out the opportunity to face a legend, but the Vancouver Whitecaps still have a chance to make history in Wednesday's second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final.

Some young Whitecaps players were cherishing the chance to play against Drogba before the former Chelsea star was ruled out of the Montreal Impact lineup. But Drogba's disappointing absence isn't dampening their eagerness to help the Whitecaps win their first Voyageurs Cup.

"It's probably the biggest game in the history since I've been here, because we have a chance to win it and we want to win this trophy," said third-year Whitecaps midfielder Kekuta Manneh. "It'll be our first trophy, so it'll be a really important game, for sure the biggest game for us this year."

The aggregate-goals series is tied 2-2 after Vancouver squandered a 2-0 lead in the first leg in Montreal.

The chance to play against fellow African Drogba, an Ivory Coast native, was especially meaningful to Manneh.

"He's royalty in Africa," said Manneh, who hails from Gambia. "Everybody loved him and we heard stories about him. He's not only a great soccer player, but also a great guy for all the things he (does) for all the kids there."

Rookie central defender Tim Parker, a 22-year-old, Hicksville, N.Y. native, dreamed of the chance to go face-to-face with Drogba while watching him play on television many Saturday mornings. But Parker is still feeling plenty of excitement as the Whitecaps seek an elusive Canadian title.

"There's a lot of emotion (among Whitecaps players) going into this game, because from what I know about the club and from what I know about this game coming up, it's a big deal for the club," said Parker.

Vancouver central defender Pa-Modou Kah, a 35-year-old Gambian who hopes to return from a fractured cheekbone while sporting a "Phantom of the Opera" mask, praised Drogba as a "huge personality" in Africa. But Kah said the chance to win a Canadian title was more important to him. …

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