Former Chelsea and Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba has been cleared to stand in the long-delayed elections to be the next president of Ivory Coast’s football federation (FIF). A total of six candidates, including outgoing vice president Idriss Diallo, have been approved by FIF’s Fifa-installed normalization committee to stand in the polls which will be on 23 April.
Didier Drogba Set to Contest for Ivory Coast Football Federation President
The voting was originally scheduled to be carried out in September 2020 but has been repeatedly postponed because of ongoing issues over the eligibility of certain candidates, including the former Chelsea striker Drogba.
Mariam Dao Gabala who is the president of the FIF normalization committee, announced at a news conference saying: “The candidacy for the presidency of the Ivorian football federation is closed.” She also said: “Six candidates have been registered. They are Yatte Ellele Jean-Baptiste, Arnaud Aka, Laurent Kouakou, Idriss Diallo, Sory Diabate, and Didier Drogba.”
Drogba played more than 100 times for the Ivory Coast, including at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but was told in August 2020 that he was not eligible to stand in the election. After intervention from the world governing body Fifa, the 44-year-old, who won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and the Champions League across two spells with Chelsea, retains his hopes of running the game in the West African country.
Reacting to the victory, Didier Drogba said: “Finally here we are.” “I can’t wait for the campaign to start. Have strong faith in me to bring Ivorian football to life if elected.” Last week Drogba told some reporters that: “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.”