Chelsea legend Didier Drogba is among six presidential candidates cleared to vie for the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) top seat in the coming elections.
The 44-year-old was among the candidates, who presented their nomination papers to the Normalization Committee and he is finally given a clean bill of health to contest.
Confirming the news, the committee’s President Mariam Dao Gabala told a press conference as quoted by Africa News: “The filing of candidacies for the presidency of the Ivorian football federation is closed. Six candidates have been registered. They are: Yatte Ellele Jean-Baptiste, Arnaud Aka, Laurent Kouakou, Idriss Diallo, Sory Diabate and Didier Drogba.”
With the list of all the contestants set to be made public on April 15, Gabala has promised a credible, free and fair exercise.
"We are ready for these elections and we must show a good image of Cote d'Ivoire through a peaceful election. I ask everyone not to add to the crisis,” added Gabala.
The elections will be held on April 23 and according to Drogba, who also played for Marseille, Guingamp, and Galatasaray among other top European teams, he has promised to give new life to Ivorian football if elected.
“Finally here we are! I can't wait for the campaign to start. Trust me to give life to Ivorian football if I am elected,” said Drogba.
Droga is best known for his career at Chelsea, where he scored more goals than any other foreign player and is currently the club’s fourth-highest goalscorer of all time. Drogba was named in the Chelsea team of the 2010-2020 decade by Chelsea's fans.
He was named African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009.
An Ivory Coast international between 2002 and 2014, Drogba captained the national team from 2006 until his retirement from the Ivory Coast team and is the nation's all-time top goalscorer with 65 goals from 105 appearances.
He led Ivory Coast to the 2006 Fifa World Cup, their first appearance in the tournament, and also scored their first goal. He later captained Ivory Coast at the 2010 and 2014 Fifa World Cups.
He was part of the Ivory Coast teams that reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012 but were beaten on penalties on both occasions. However, on August 8, 2014, he announced his retirement from international football, and in 2018, he retired from professional football at the age of 40.
Drogba’s decision to contest comes a few months after former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o was elected the new President of the Cameroonian Football Federation.