The hope of former African Footballer of the Year, Didier Drogba, to become president of Côte d’ Ivoire’s football federation (FIF) has been dashed.
Drogba, who boasts of an impressive record as a player for both club and country, had promised a ‘Renaissance’ in Ivorian football if elected but the Chelsea legend did not make it to the second round of voting before being ousted.
“I can bring the change that the federation and the clubs need. Football isn’t rising the way it should and the way we want it in Ivory Coast.” Drogba had told the BBC in the build-up to the election.
Hoping to tow the path of another African football legend, Samuel Eto’o, who is now in charge of football in his home country Cameroon, Drogba put his hat in the ring, offering to serve as the FIF president.
However, Saturday’s poll at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research in Yamoussoukro did not go his way as it was the duo of Yacine Idriss Diallo and Sory Diabate who advanced to the second round of the election.
The first round, which had a total of 131 votes, saw Diallo: a businessman and vice-president of Ivorian club Afad, win the round with 59 votes, and Diabate: a former vice-president of the FIF, came second with 50 votes. Drogba finished a distant third with 21 votes.
Though Drogba was heavily backed by the public and his former national teammates including Yaya Toure, he was labelled ‘inexperienced’ by his rivals Diallo and Diabate.
In the second round, Diallo, a current FIF executive member, squeezed out former FIF vice-president Sory Diabaté by 63 votes to 61.
Saturday’s election in the political capital Yamoussoukro had been postponed several times since 2020, primarily over the ongoing issues over the eligibility of certain candidates, with Drogba prominent among them.
Though denied the chance of administering football in his country, Drogba’s achievements as far as the game is concerned remain unrivalled in Cote d’ Ivoire and rank high on the continent as well as globally.
Only last week, Drogba became the first African to be inducted into the English Premier League Hall of Fame.
The 44-year-old ex-captain of the Elephants and former striker at Marseille and Chelsea played more than 100 times for his country, including at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.