Didier Drogba could eventually be in the ballot after Fifa called for the temporarily stoppage of Ivory Coast football elections amidst the backing of ex-Ghanaian skipper Assamoah Gyan.
Drogba suffered a blow late last week after his nomination papers to contest for the FIF presidency were thrown out by the Electoral Commission on Thursday.
The commission cited “inadequacies” in Drogba’s documents after they found that he had been endorsed by two clubs who were ruled “not to have the necessary authority to nominate him.”
This means that Drogba only got endorsement from ‘two clubs’, and not three as required by the law.
But the Chelsea legend received a lifeline after Zurich moved fast to call for the suspension of the exercise, even as Gyan now throws his weight behind the Ivoirian all-time goal scorer.
Gyan, himself a former Black Stars captain, has called for “fair play” even as he appealed to Ivoirians to support the former African Player of the Year ahead of the elections that could have had just two candidates after Drogba alongside Kouadio Kifffo were both expunged from the register.
“Football legends deserve a place in administration. Didier Drogba has seen it all with the national team and club team. I am for his transition into management and supports his bid, allow fair playing ground and let people/association decide,” Gyan said in a lengthy Twitter post.
The move to kick Drogba out of the exercise was seen as an elaborate scheme by some powerful forces to block the former elephants striker out of the election. The Phoenix Rising co-owner enjoys a big support of a majority of ordinary Ivoirians.
This was evident when he made a grand entry at the FIF headquarters when he went to present his nomination papers as he was accompanied by a mammoth crowd.
This was this the the time Drogba bounced off the first huddle after he failed to get endorsement from the commission of former and current Ivory Coast players.
The electoral commission in the meantime accepted the papers of current vice president FA’s Sory Diabate and Sidy Diallo, the former third vice president, even though Fifa has since moved fast to stop the elections.
Before Fifa moved in with the order, Drogba had five days (from Thurday) to appeal against the decision.
This suspicious action saw Fifa become concerned that the election might not be free and fair and moved in and stop the exercise that was due on September 5.
“Pending your documents and the information, we request the suspension of all actions in relation to the elections process until further notice,” Fifaordered the stoppage of the exercise as they await five files from FIF.
The files that are being sought by Fifa are minutes from the previous meeting and the list of the electoral commission whose chairman was elected last July and is believed to be working under the orders of the current regime.
Drogba’s team, however, remained unfazed by the decision to bar him from the polls with his team insisting that they will “react to conform to the texts which surrounds the elections”.
This is not the first time that Fifa has called for the suspension of the now long-overdue polls. Earlier in August, Zurich called on FIF to call off the exercise over a similar incident.