Claude Paulin Danho, the Minister of Sports for Ivory Coast, discussed the qualities of Carlo Ancelotti and the lack of ethnic African players in the Italian national team.

Ivory Coast did not qualify for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, finishing second in their qualifying group behind Cameroon, who booked their spot in the competition. The country are hosts for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, which’ll kick off in January 2024, guaranteeing them qualification to the tournament. 

Speaking to La Repubblica, Danho first discussed who could be the next coach of the Ivory Coast national team, praising Ancelotti.

“If Carlo Ancelotti wants to come to us when he is finished with Real Madrid, he who in the past said he wanted to coach our Ivory Coast national team, we would welcome him with open arms. 

“Italian football remains a great reference point for us. With our talents and a genius coach like him, I’m sure we could win the World Cup.”

He gave his thoughts on the number of African players leaving the continent to ply their trade at European clubs.

“The leagues in most African countries are still not of a high standard. This means that the best players, in order to make a career breakthrough, are forced to come to Europe. 

“And it is their clubs that propose them to European clubs, because our league is not yet top level, it does not yet produce enough money to pay players well. 

“Therefore, when a player is promising, the club prefers to sell him, to offer him to a European club, because this allows the club to have resources to live on and also to do development and recruitment.”

Finally, Danho provided an interesting explanation for the current crisis in Italy football, evident with the team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

“Italy is ageing and has not had many ethnic mixes. The strength of the teams, in England and France in particular, lies in the fact that they have integrated a lot of players of African origin. 

“They have integrated a lot of talent from other countries and this has allowed them to strengthen their national teams. This is not the case for Italy, which has remained quite closed, apart from the case of Mario Balotelli, who is of Ghanaian origin, in recent years.”

Ancelotti became the first coach in history to win a league title in all of Europe’s top five leagues when he secured the La Liga title last season with Real Madrid.

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