Former Senegal international and Leeds United forward El Hadji Diouf believes the country's FA must accept responsibility for the crowd disruption that caused Saturday's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash with Ivory Coast to be abandoned.
Diouf is adamant the country’s football system must be overhauled, commencing with the sacking of the FA’s executive committee members and the naming of an experienced hand like former Marseille chairman Pape Diouf, who originally hails from Senegal but holds French citizenship.
“I think to pacify the angry fans and the entire nation, the FA executive committee members should be axed or forced to resign, then Pape Diouf should be brought in to clean up the system,” the former Liverpool winger told Dakar-based newspaper Observateur on Sunday.
Ivorian captain Didier Drogba scored a brace to dash Senegal’s hopes of reaching next year’s showpiece, fueling anger and violence within the stadium from local supporters, which led to the suspension of the match in the 76th minute.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year, who travelled home from England on Friday to see the game, also alleged the 1,000 tickets he ordered to distribute to his fans were impounded by FA officials on suspicion he was recruiting hooligans to disrupt the encounter.
The country's FA lifted Diouf’s five-year ban earlier this month, sparking rumors that he would be called up to the Teranga Lions to help the young team against the experienced Elephants. He was ignored, though, by coach Joseph Koto, who is now under fire from fans and some officials for his decision to keep faith with the majority of his players from the Under-23 team that participated in the 2012 London Olympic football tournament. Senegal has the highest number of African professionals playing in Europe and many in its top leagues, but the team has failed to live up to lofty expectations after their surprise 2002 World Cup exploits.