"My candidacy is for unity. I want to remain within the dynamics of the development of Ivorian Football instilled by president Alassane Ouattara 10 years ago. The rebirth of Ivorian footbal is within sight. On April 23rd 2022, If I am elected president of FIF, I will reach out to the other two main candidates. I am for the triumph and the revival of Ivorian football".
Those were the words of football icon Didier Drogba who, for months, was on the receiving end of a dysfunctional executive committee's efforts to railroad him and keen on not giving him the light of day in his quest for the Ivory Coast Football top job. Nonetheless, when the dust cleared with an interim chief at the helm, he was allowed to run along with other candidates who have been in and around the "glass house" of Treichville (centre of the economic capital) for decades.
Yatte Ellele Jean-Baptiste, Arnaud Aka, Laurent Kouakou, Idriss Diallo, Sory Diabate and Didier Drogba have registered their candidacy, according to Mariam Dao Gabala, president of the FIF "normalisation committee", at a press conference.
Despite his status, he is not necessarily the favourite in this election due to a lack of support from some stakeholders, although the 44 year-old Drogba is optimistic to emerge the winner. "Finally, here we are! I can't wait for the campaign to start. Trust me to give life to Ivorian football if I am elected," he said, praising his "unity" candidacy.
Ahead of the election, the electoral commission is expected to make public the list of candidates on April 15. After an imbroglio over the sponsorship system for candidates, moult debates, speculations, a near suspension from FIFA and a "normalisation committee", Ivory Coast Football stakeholders have come to some degree of sense over the rules to succeed Sidi Diallo, the late FIF president.
"We are ready for these elections, so we must fly high the flag of Côte d'Ivoire through a peaceful election. I ask everyone not to add to the crisis", said Dao Gabala on Sunday.
Bady Claude Djaquis
Published on 14/04/[email protected]:46AM