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(Reuters) - Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba was a shock omission on Saturday when Ivory Coast named a 28-man squad for next weekend's World Cup qualifier against Gambia in Abidjan.
The Ivorians listed the players who will be involved in next Saturday's tie in Abidjan on the soccer federation's website (www.fif-ci.com) without giving a reason for the former Chelsea player's absence.
Five other players involved in the African Nations Cup at the start of the year were left out by coach Sabri Lamouchi -Galatasaray defender Emmanuel Eboue, Real Zaragoza midfielder Romaric, Dijon goalkeeper Daniel Yeboah, Paris St Germain full back Siaka Tiene and Kuban Krasnodar defender Igor Lolo.
Drogba was dropped by Lamouchi for one match at the Nations Cup but both denied there was any tension between the two men.
The Ivorians were the favourites to win in South Africa but were knocked at the quarter-final stage by eventual champions Nigeria.
Drogba, who was short of match fitness in South Africa after having a brief stint in Chinese soccer, has since helped Galatasaray qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Ivorians lead World Cup Group C with four points from two games. Gambia are bottom on one point.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Durban, editing by Tony Jimenez)