Former Chelsea and Cote d’Ivoire striker Didier Drogba will not become the president of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) after crashing out in the first round of the election.
According to Saturday’s results made available to the media, the two-time African Player of the Year finished third behind Yacine Idriss Diallo and Sory Diabate.
While Diallo accrued 59 votes, Diabate secured 51 votes with the 44-year-old finishing a distant third after polling 21 votes.
As a consequence, the top two candidates will go into the second round of voting where the new chief-in-dock of Cote d’Ivoire football will emerge.
FIF election is not an open one as presidents from top-flight clubs and two lower divisions – D2 and D3 – are allowed to vote.
Rash N’guessan, a producer at Radio Cote d’Ivoire Sport predicted victory for the African football icon earlier.
“Drogba would win the election in a landslide if fans were allowed to vote,” he told GOAL. “But, that is not the case now. He has to deal with people who do not swoon over his popularity.
“It is hard to explain but many people have the feeling that Fifa and Caf are smoothing the path for Drogba because of his reputation in football. Why should the laws of an election be changed because a candidate failed to meet them?”
Drogba submitted his candidacy bid on August 1, 2020, in front of a large gathering at the FIF headquarters in Abidjan.
Even with his popularity, there was doubt he could meet the eligibility 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.
“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,” Drogba told the media.
“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.”
Drogba, 42, played for the West African nation between 2002 and 2014 before calling time on his international career.
He is the West African country’s all-time top scorer with 65 goals after 105 games, the country’s third-highest tally of international appearances after Didier Zokora (123) and Kolo Toure (120).
He featured at five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013) and three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014).