Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi says striker Didier Drogba needs to rediscover his form before he can don the orange of the Elephants again.
Drogba is the nation's top scorer with 57 goals in 94 games, but Lamouchi says the talismanic forward's club-hopping has affected his form.
The former Chelsea marksman is now at Turkish giants Galatasaray after a brief stint in China with Shanghai Shenhua.
The Elephants lead Group C with four points and take on bottom of the group Gambia this Saturday in a 2014 World Cup qualifier match.
Tanzania and Morocco are a one and two points behind Ivory Coast respectively so a win is necessary for Lamouchi's men.
"Drogba is a huge player. He has a bigger status than any other player here but he has had a difficult last eight months and he now needs to work," said the coach.
"He has had three different clubs in the last eight months and his time in China cost him a lot of fitness.
"It means he was not the Didier we know at the last Nations Cup. Didier is the captain of the Elephant. I'm counting on him in the World Cup qualifiers.
"But he needs to get back to his competitive standards. I have no doubt that we will see the return of Didier Drogba at the highest level. Any team would need players of his great calibre."