While Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba is sequestered away with his teammates in a luxury hotel for the African Cup of Nations, his mother, Clotilde is preparing traditional west African meals in an outdoor kitchen for a group of 60 fans who traveled to Equatorial Guinea for the tournament.
Using portable gas hobs under a gazebo to cook for the supporters who made the 900-mile trip, Mrs. Drogba was at first reluctant to be interviewed by the AP when they approached her.
"The mother of Drogba cannot be seen like this," she protested. [...]
"Everyone has their thing and what they like to do," Clotilde told The Associated Press after preparing lunch on Monday. "This is what I like to do— be helpful to people.
"I would support my son doing anything whether he was famous or not. This isn't about my son, it's about supporting my country."
This isn't the first time Clotilde has cook for fans of the national team, though. She also did it at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. And it's very clear that she passed this desire to help her countrymen on to her son.
Didier was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world for giving all the money he makes from endorsements to build hospitals in the Ivory Coast. He also organized a team statement calling for peace during that 2006 World Cup which is credited with calming violence during a time of civil war.
Clotilde says she was a fan of German defender Franz Beckenbauer when she was pregnant with Didier and wanted him to be a physically "big footballer" like him. Which, thanks in part to her cooking, definitely came true (and then some -- Didier is three inches taller). And though she enjoys preparing those meals for others, that's not entirely why she made the trip for the ACN...
"The best moment is when you make a good meal and people are satisfied," said Clotilde, sitting down for a rest after helping the handful of female kitchen workers serve the food. "But it's even better when Didier scores and the team wins."
Didier scored the only goal in the Ivory Coast's victorious tournament opener against Sudan.