Ivory Coast refs play their cards for Drogba in presidential race

July 24 – September’s election for a new president of the Ivory Coast FA is heating up with the country’s referees announcing their support for former playing icon Didier Drogba even though he remains the underdog.

Despite not being formally recognised as voting officials, all but two of the 220 members of the Ivory Coast Football Referees Association say the former international striker is a better bet than the two other candidates, according to local reports.

Drogba is among three contenders contesting the presidency on September 5. He expected to be backed by the footballers’ union but was not endorsed and they are instead supporting Idriss Diallo.

Drogba,  the nation’s all-time top goal scorer with 65 goals from 105 appearances,  will now require the endorsement of at least two of the five special interest groups needed to get on to the ballot.

Former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph Antoine Bell says he finds it difficult to understand how a player who has represented his country so successfully would not be allowed to run.

“It is incomprehensible,” he told Cameroon media group APS.

In Africa, he said, “if it is a footballer who has played everywhere and who has represented his country at all levels is a candidate, there is always something to complain about. we cannot continue to marginalize these former footballers.”

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