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Didier Drogba’s tumultuous campaign to take the helm of Ivorian football

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The atmosphere was festive, the fans excited and the guests dressed to the nines. Monday, April 18, in the village hall of the very chic Sofitel Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, the famous media man Yves Zogbo Junior presents to the public the executive committee of the star candidate Didier Drogba for the presidency of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF). . The big CVs of the team are proudly detailed and broadcast on a giant screen: specialists in finance and law with degrees from Harvard, Stanford or even HEC Paris, but also fine connoisseurs of the world of football.

Didier Drogba appreciates the moment, and applauds the members of his team with a smile. The candidate wants to show that he is well surrounded and ready to preside. However, some hosts are lacking alongside the former captain of the Ivorian selection: club presidents who, a few days before the deadline, did not come in large numbers. The 76 leaders of the first three divisions as well as five interest groups made up of Ivorian football players will be the only major voters in the ballot to be held in Yamoussoukro on Saturday 23 April.

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“They have been invited, some have commitments, some have not been able to come. The most important thing is not their presence today but the action they will take on Saturday., justified Didier Drogba on Monday, after being questioned about this very noticeable absence. In his entourage, it is assured that the clubs have sent representatives. The presidents, under pressure, would prefer to be discreet in the home stretch before the election which will see the ex-international face Sory Diabaté and Idriss Diallo, two former vice-presidents of the FIF.

Overturn the table

But doubt has set in. Didier Drogba, planetary football star, and enjoying immense popularity in Côte d’Ivoire, will he succeed in convincing voters after months of a campaign marked by hiccups? “Right now, he’s meeting a lot of people, he’s trying to make up for lost time, and sometimes even apologizing.says Fernand Dédeh, a well-known Ivorian sports journalist. He entered the campaign in 2020 through the wrong door. »

At the end of 2019, the just retired king of sport announced that he wanted to run for the post, the ballot for which was then supposed to be held in May 2020. But, to the surprise of his fans, Drogba failed to collect the necessary sponsorship from football players. Ivorian. “From the start, he did not know how to take the steps, he did not know how to speak to the clubs and the world of sport to make his idea understood”comments Fernand Dédeh.

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