PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) — Didier Drogba has been left out of the starting lineup for Ivory Coast's World Cup opener against Portugal even though FIFA cleared him to play with a cast on his arm.
Drogba broke his right arm in a warmup match against Japan on June 4. He underwent surgery and missed several training sessions for rehabilitation.
A special lightweight cast was placed on his arm after an operation on the fracture. FIFA said Tuesday that the cast was approved after examination by the match referee and Portuguese team officials.
All parties, including referee Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay, were satisfied that the cast did not pose a danger to other players. But Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson decided to keep Drogba on the bench for now.