With national and professional pride on the line in the world’s biggest tournament, the Ivory Coast government is promising its team extra money if it wins its next game.
Seems a bit unnecessary, no?
But that’s the case for Les Elephants, who would advance with a win against Greece in its final Group C game on Tuesday, as Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara has approved a doubled win bonus for the players.
On a visit to the squad’s training base in Brazil, Guillaume Soro, head of the Ivorian parliament, informed the players that Mr Ouattara is keen to reward them should they beat the Greeks.
“The president has requested me to tell you that the Ivorian people are proud of you, that he is proud of you,” he said.
“Despite the defeat, you have been brave against Colombia. He has also requested me to announce that the win bonuses against Greece have been doubled.
“I have been watching your game against Colombia in Brasilia. You have lost, but everyone who watched it agreed to say that you are capable of achieving a good result in your next match to qualify for the round of 16. I am convinced about it.”
Jokes aside, there’s something to be said for hearing from your president — second-hand, where’s the phone call? — that everyone believes in you and there’s more money on the line. Still, doubt that when Cheick Tiote goes to break an opponent in half with a tackle, his thought will be, “MORE MONEY!!”