Didier Drogba, the Chelsea cult hero and two-time African Player of the Year received a warm reception Saturday when he presented his nomination papers for the forthcoming Ivory Coast FA elections.
Drogba arrived at the Ivory Coast FA headquarters in a convoy of cars as fans provided the much needed back-up, on foot, with the police encircling him.
Drogba, 42, is among the four candidates gunning for the position in the September 5 poll.
But even with the grand entrance, Drogba’s dream of leading football in his motherland will depend on a number of factors before he is cleared by the electoral commission to vie for the seat.
To start with, he must get nominations from three of the 14 clubs taking part in the top tier (Ligue 1), and two from the lower division.
Last week he suffered a huge setback when he received zero votes from 14-member former players who unanimously voted for his rival Sory Diabete though he still has the coaches, doctors, referees and current players associations to bank on, as he will need at least the special interest group to endorse him.
The process will take at least five days, meaning that the earliest the former Marseille striker would know if he is in the ballot is this coming Friday.
“It is no secret that our football is going badly and that’s why we are committed to contributing to the rebirth of football in Ivory Coast,” Drogba told local reporters.
A hero at Marseille before moving to Stamford Bridge in 2004, the towering former Ivorian international is famed for his predatory instinct during his time at Chelsea, especially under Jose Mourinho.
Drogba, a darling of many, especially in his homeland where a beer brand is named after him, is also remembered for calling for a ceasefire during the Ivory Coast civil war.
He played in three World Cups with Ivory Coast and also made it to the Afcon finals twice with the Elephants besides winning the Champions League with Chelsea where he scored the winning goal against Bayern München.
He also lifted three Premier League titles in his first stint at Chelsea, four FA Cups and two league cups.
The Phoenix Rising owner wrapped up his stint at the west London club with another EPL title and league cup after spells in Turkey and China.