Ivory Coast - FIF Election: Drogba’s Campaign In Disarray.

Didier Drogba’s hopes of becoming the next president of the Ivory Coast’s football federation has suffered a major blow after the failure of his fellow players to support his candidacy. Image: Ben Sutherland via Flickr

Friday, July 17. As the world of football thought one of three candidates and former Ivorian ace’s bid  to become FA President was slowly but surely garnering support, this week we learned the shocking truth about what has been going on in his “house”, the AFI ( Ivorian footballer's union).

To get an understanding of the intricate and deep-rooted divide in the union of which Drogba is a founding member and the second vice-President, ivorycoasttribune.com has gone in search of answers.

What we found is a litany of intrigues, backstabbing and jealousy unworthy of individuals who claim to have the best interests of their country’s football at heart.

To run for the office of president of the Ivorian FA, ARTICLE 41 sets out condition of eligibility as follows:

  1. The President and the members of the Executive Committee of FIF are elected by the General Assembly.  
  2. To run for the Presidency of the FIF, one must: a) be Ivorian; b) be at least 35 years of age and at most 70 years of age; c) have the backing of his or her list of Executive Committee members by a group of at least eight (8) active members of the FIF, namely three (3) clubs playing in D1, two (2) clubs playing in D2, two (2) clubs playing in D3 and one (1) football interest group; d) submit his or her candidacy to the ad-hoc electoral commission thirty (30) days before the ballot; e) enjoy his/her civil rights and not have incurred any criminal or correctional sentence; f) pay a deposit of five million (5,000,000) FCFA by cheque made out to FIF at the time of submission of the candidacy; g) not have incurred, within the five years preceding the elective General Assembly, any sanction in the application of the statutes, regulations, decisions and directives of FIFA, CAF, UFOA and FIF or any other sports body.
  3. Candidates who obtain one third (1/3) of the votes shall be reimbursed. The list of candidates for the presidency shall be sent with the written invitation 15 days before the General Assembly. It is also published in the press ten (10) days before the ballot.

In line item 2 of article 41 of the status of FIF, to run as a president of the FA, one must, among other obligations, have the backing of at least one football interests groups, such as referees, sport medicine practitioners, footballers...

Here is where the story gets stranger: hours before this article was published today 17/07/2020, all the candidates except Drogba received multiple backings from the so-called interests groups. Didier Drogba, the most iconic Ivorian footballer of all times. One of the most recognisable personalities in the world and proud ambassador of his country was on the brink of not even taking part in what is meant to be the mere democratic process of being a candidate, because AFI took a majority decision not to back him.

In a video footage on Thursday, 16 July 2020, Former international goalkeeper and AFI voting member, Stephane Dimy told of his bewilderment of seeing a July 13th memo from the secretary Arouna Dindane, indicating a majority vote for candidate Idriss Diallo, when in fact, nothing as such had taken place during the video conference which had been rescheduled from the 13th to Thursday 16th July.

According to one Cyrille Domoraud, a former "Les Elephants" captain and teammate of Drogba's, Arouna Dindane, Kolo Touré and he, Cyrille decided to back a candidate who did not need it, because his friend Drogba had not visited their headquarters once in the last eleven years.

 Moreover, three years ago, Drogba refused a unanimous backing for a bid to the candidacy by AFI.

 In light of what they consider "flimsy arguments by jealous former teammates", rumours are now swirling of court actions by the Drogba camp about his signature having been forged on the aforementioned document.

The next few days will mark a milestone in the abysmal decent of Ivory Coast football, already suffering gangrened mismanagement from top to bottom.

If the association of sports medicine practitioners decide they’ll rather back a candidate who could do without their support, instead of the Chelsea great, he will have to face the harsh truth of swimming in the murky waters of African football, like so many such as Antoine Bell in Cameroon, and other former footballers across the continent before him, who were naive enough to believe in change when reality on the ground dictated otherwise.

Published By Claude Djaquis