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Didier Drogba eyes Côte d’Ivoire’s top job in football

By Alexis Billebault
Posted on Tuesday, 26 November 2019 08:44

Didier Drogba arrives at the Elysée to meet President Emmanuel Macron on 21 February 2018. © Francois Mori/AP/SIPA

Less than two weeks ago, on 14 November, Didier Drogba made it clear that he wants to become the next president of the Ivory Coast Football Federation. The former Elephants captain would succeed Augustin Sidy Diallo for the top job. 

Eugène Diomandé will also be feeling a little less alone. The president of Séwé Sport de San Pedro was the first to officially announce his candidacy for the position.

The vote is scheduled for the first half of 2020.

Drogba, 41, is the former captain of Chelsea Football Club (106 caps, 65 goals between 2002 and 2014).  He’s heading back to his country of birth to compete for a different prize.

  • “I’m here to make a change, not to get rich at the FA, because I’ve decided to get involved in local football in a country I love,” he said.

Developing Ivorian football

Didier Drogba was speaking after meeting representatives of Division 3 clubs, which are part of the Electoral College, in Abidjan.

At Sofitel Hôtel Ivoire in Cocody, the former Marseille and Chelsea striker organised a meeting with the League 1 and League 2 clubs.

  • “If he’s here, it’s not for nothing. He is already campaigning and it would probably be a good thing if he were elected,” says an anonymous League 1 club leader. “Drogba is a name, but [he] also has the advantage of not needing the federation to make money. He has enough. We need someone who can develop Ivorian football because it’s been far too long since almost nothing has been done,” he says.

Salif Bictogo, President of the Stella Club of Adjamé (League 2), believes that “Drogba can bring something innovative. He just needs to be well surrounded, because the real leaders are those who know how to delegate”.

Diallo, target of criticism

Augustin Sidy Diallo, the current president of Ivory Coast football who is completing his second term, has not yet announced whether he will run for a third term.

But he is the target of much criticism from a majority of Ivorian football players. They accuse him of inaction, poor financial management, but also for having made a personal profit.

Meanwhile, in Abidjan, Drogba is presenting his “Renaissance” project to voters, focusing on five main themes: the legal and regulatory framework for the practice, football stakeholders, infrastructure, the economy of industry, and the development of football medicine.

 

This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.

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