Drogba out the race for Ivory Coast presidency after failing election criteria

August 28 – Didier Drogba, the Ivory Coast’s most iconic footballer – all-time top goal scorer with 65 goals from 105 appearances – has finally been ruled out of the contest for next month’s federation (FIF) presidential election.

Drogba, who played in three World Cups with the Ivory Coast and twice helped them to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, was badly let down in July by the country’s footballers’ union who refused to endorse him and on Thursday the FIF Electoral Commission found the two-time African Footballer of the Year did not meet the criteria as he had not received enough nominations.

Two of the sponsors he submitted, Africa Sports and a body representing referees, AMAF-CI, were found to have actually backed one of his opponents, FIF’s first vice-president Sory Diabate. The head of Africa Sports’ football section had apparently given his approval to Drogba while the chairman of the whole club had backed Diabate.

The subsequent removal of Africa Sports’ backing left Drogba with just two nominations from Ligue 1 clubs, rather than the three that FIF statutes demand from the 14 top-flight outfits.

Paul Koffi Kouadio has also had his bid rejected, leaving incumbent vice-president Diabate and former FIF vice-president Yacine Idriss Diallo to go head-to-head for the presidency with Drogba out of the race.

The ruling dealt a huge blow to the former Chelsea forward’s ambitions even though both he and Kouadio have a five-day window to appeal the electoral body’s verdict.

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