Didier Drogba has been given the green light to contest at the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) elections on September 5 after his candidacy was approved by the electoral committee of the federation on Monday.
The former Chelsea striker and celebrated African legend is contesting against Sory Diabate, a member of the outgoing FIF Executive Committee and Idris Diallo, former vice-president of FIF.
The 42-year-old had submitted his candidacy bid on August 1 in front of a large gathering at the FIF headquarters in Abidjan. Despite his popularity, there was doubt Drogba could meet the election requirements after the Ivory Coast Footballers Association (AFI) failed to endorse his candidacy which drew the disappointment of the African section of the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) by suspending them.
He, however, met the requirements on Monday which were endorsements from three Ivorian Ligue 1 clubs, two Ligue 2 clubs, two Championnat Division 3 clubs and an interest group.
Retired Ivorian goalkeeper Copa Barry took his Facebook page to congratulate Drogba and appreciate those who helped in making him get this far with his candidacy.
“When I woke up, I read this message: ‘Hello bro! We are officially validated for the application to the FIF’. Signed Didier Drogba.
“Thank you, dear people of Cote d’Ivoire, the diaspora and all of Africa because more than ever your voice has echoed.
“Thank you to the brilliant DD team for their commitment: President Eugene Diomande, Kouassi Blaise, Zoro Marc, Didier Ottokore, Akassou Ghislain, Paul Ledjou, Eric Monnet, Yaya Touré, Adam Khalil and Namory Diomande.
“And a special mention to the mother of our DD legend, who, from the start, takes care of this team on a daily basis.
“I invite you to go see the presidents of your clubs, in your locality, your municipality to say your choice and give your voice. If they like you, they will hear you.”
Drogba had addressed the large crowd that gathered at the FIF headquarters on August 1“Football is everyone’s sport, football brings people together, football unites. We can see it today with all these people gathered in front of the headquarters of the Ivorian football federation,” he told the press.
“It’s no secret that our football is going badly, and that is why with my team we are committed to contributing to the rebirth of Ivorian football.
“If my goal was not driven by a deep desire to give back to Ivorian football all that it has given me, to contribute to the development of football in my country, and if God was not in this candidacy, it would be difficult to be in front of you today.”