London:Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba hopes Friday's World Cup draw is kinder to his team than four years ago and allows it to avoid the major powers in the group stage in South Africa.
Drogba's side had to face Argentina and the Netherlands in the group stage at the 2006 tournament in Germany and only collected points against Serbia before being eliminated.
Ivory Coast is Africa's leading contender to win its first World Cup title when the competition is staged on the continent for the first time, but Drogba's side is only among the third-seeded teams.
"I hope we will be in a better group than in 2006 when we tried to fight but had no chance to go through," Drogba told The Associated Press on Monday. "Hopefully we will be more lucky this time. We want to avoid all the big teams like Brazil, Germany and England."
Drogba will be hoping to go to South Africa as a Premier League winner again. He scored twice Sunday as Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-0 to win a fifth straight league match and lead the standings by five points over defending champion Manchester United.
"The lead is not enough, but at the same time it's a good gap," said Drogba, who also won the title in 2005 and '06 under Jose Mourinho. "When you are top of the league, it is good _ the others have to chase us. They have to produce and do more than us to win games.
"It is true that Manchester are still there. We were in their position last year, behind and chasing. It is very difficult and now they have to come and catch us."
Chelsea, though, will have to cope without Drogba in January when he travels with Ivory Coast to Angola for the African Cup of Nations.
"I've no doubt that they will be able to do the job without me," he said. "At Chelsea, my first two seasons were really good, the team bond was really strong and now this one is a little bit like it was during those years when we were champions under Mourinho."
Drogba attended Monday's launch of a campaign by Nike to use the buildup to the World Cup to raise money for research into HIV/AIDS.
"I have been to many hospitals in Africa and I have seen people dying from HIV," Drogba said. "When you think about it and how easy it is to get some medicine to treat this disease, you want people to listen to you and join you."