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Drogba dedicates Phoenix Rising FC debut to Ivory Coast teammate who passed away

Phoenix Rising FC forward Didier Drogba dedicated his debut for the club to his international teammate Cheick Tiote, who passed away Monday.

The 39-year-old, who had a goal and an assist Saturday night, reached out on Instagram for his tribute.

New chapter, new Team, new friends, the game is still beautiful @phxrisingfc I wanna dedicate this win to @tiote_official who passed away few days ago while doing what he loved, playing football. My thoughts and condolences to his family 🙏🏾🙏🏾 Premier but dans cette nouvelle aventure avec un goût spécial, je dédis ce but et cette victoire à un de nos plus vaillant éléphant Champion d’Afrique @tiote_official à jamais dans nos cœurs Champion @tiote_official 💔 Fortes pensées à toute la famille et à toute la Côte d’Ivoire et l’Afrique qui pleure un des leurs.

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Tiote passed away after collapsing in training with his new Chinese team at the age of 30. He started every Ivory Coast World Cup game in 2010 and in 2014, playing with Drogba in each game. He had a total of 55 appearances for his country. Both started in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Final for the Ivory Coast against Zambia.

He started every Ivory Coast World Cup game in 2010 and in 2014, playing with Drogba in each game. He had a total of 55 appearances for his country. Both started in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Final for the Ivory Coast against Zambia.

Drogba was named the captain of the Ivory Coast in 2006 and retired from international soccer in 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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