Former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has castigated the stance by the Ivory Coast Footballers Association (AFI) not to support former national team captain Didier Drogba in his bid to become president of the West African nation’s football federation.
Despite the snub, Drogba managed to file his candidacy and will stand against Koffi Kouakou Paul, Sory Diabate and Idriss Diallo for the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) presidency elections set for September 5.
“That our players' association has chosen to support another candidate constitutes a major fault, a serious breach of its obligations and its mission,” Toure was quoted as having told Abidjan Sports as per Afrik Foot. “No matter how hard I tried to understand, I tried to listen to Cyrille Domoraud's arguments, I still don't understand, but the damage is done.”
AFI argues that Drogba did not deserve their support as he has not been actively involved with the players’ representative body, a claim Toure dismisses.
“If Didier was so useless, how is it possible that Cyrille Domoraud did not realise it until after eleven years and at the very moment when Didier presents his candidacy for the presidency of the FIF and that AFI seeks, by all means, to justify its support for another candidate?,” said Toure.
"If he had been aware of it for several years, why did he not raise the issue with Didier or raise the problem during the AFI General Assemblies? [Domoraud] uses AFI for personal purposes and serves Ivorian footballers. It’s grotesque and shameful.”
Drogba has however earned the support of footballers plying their trade in the Ivorian domestic league.
Besides Toure, other high profile former footballers like Marco Zoro and Blaise Kouassi have thrown their weight behind Drogba’s candidature.
“What do we do with the petition signed by more than 350 players from the elite Ivory Coast championships, who overwhelmingly asked AFI to support Didier Drogba?,” Toure asked. “What about the appeal of most of the players in the national team and its captains, which points in the same direction?
"This masquerade is not what you expect from an association like AFI," Toure concluded. "Obviously, and many of us think so, that must change.”
The next FIF president will replace outgoing Sidy Diallo who has been at the helm since 2011.