By Emmanuel Ojeme
Didier Drogba is an Ivorian International football brand who had a distinguished football career playing his football in four continents of the world namely, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. He was an Ivorian football national team captain as well as having a very successful professional football career saturated with trophies. Ordinarily an article on this flamboyant football star would be focusing on his illustrious football career and his achievements. Recently, however, a preliminary election was conducted to select who becomes the President of the Ivorian Football Federation in which Drogba was a candidate. This election involved several ex-internationals of Ivory Coast. The result showed that the Ivorian Football Icon scored zero vote. To fail in an election could be understable but to fail with a zero vote for a man of Didier Drogba’s lofty football status and national philanthropic usefulness, worried many critical observers including this writer. Why did Didier Drogba an Ivorian Football standard bearer fail to win a single vote in a football organisational leader’s election? This paper further examines this occurrence for its significance to the football family and possible lessons for the future.
At this juncture, it is considered important to dwell more on Didier Drogba, his growing up and impact in the world of football. Hopefully, his profile provides a useful context to interrogate his poor performance at the Ivorian Football Association election.
Didier Drogba was born in March 11th 1978 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. His parents took him to France to stay with his uncle Michel Goba who was involved in professional football. A few years after arriving Paris, however, he returned back home to meet his parents. At this time, Drogba already was playing street football with a lot of promise. But circumstances in his family set up were not quite favourable as his parents in 1991 had to relocate to Paris, France, taking young Didier Drogba along. At this time Didier Drogba was already 15 years and was ready to take advantage of the germaine football culture in France to develop his burgeoning talent. Let it be stated that the great umbilical cord between France and its former colonies in Africa has greatly helped many young African footballers to blossom.
As a teenager at the age of 18 years, Drogba has started his journey to stardom. In the 2003/2004 French football season, he joined Olympique Marseille Football Club and made great impact reaching the UEFA Cup Final in 2004. Didier Drogba is athletic, pacy & powerful striker. He was usually a nightmare to defenders and he is a gifted goal scorer. In 2004 he arrived England in the summer having been recruited by Chelsea Football Club. It was in England, playing for Chelsea F.C that he became a global brand winning the champions league, the premier League titles back to back in the 2004/2005, 2005/2006,2009/2010 and 2014/2015. He also won the FA Cup four times as well other titles.
At the national team level, Didier Drogba was a crowned leader and captain just as he won the AFCON Award twice in his career.
He earned multi-million pounds from his professional football career before he retired at the age of 40 years in 2018. As part of his philanthropic gestures he built an ultra modern hospital in Abidjan which he pledged as a treatment Centre for Corona Virus (COVID-19). Didier Drogba played a key role in ending the civil war that ravage his homeland in 2002 and lasted for many years.
Giving this condensed but impressive profile of Didier Drogba, it would have been expected that his bid to head the Ivorian Football Association would have received the blessing of stakeholders. This did not happen as he scored a zero vote in that quest. What happened? Why did his colleagues not give him a single vote? Did Didier Drogba take it for granted or as a given? The reasons he failed can only be known after an empirical investigation. However, it could be that he may not have worked hard enough to emerge as leader of Ivorian F.A. through an election. It is clear that Didier Drogba may not have prepared himself for leadership at the level of his National Football Association. His failure is obviously a blow to himself and to football stars who consider football leadership positions as their colonies and birth right waiting to be harvested. Football stars should make their post active football career decisions before retirement and prepare to acquire the requisites for positions and roles of interest in the society generally. That one is a football star could make the individual a celebrity but may not be a certificate in itself for subsequent occupations. Being a football celebrity surely is not a life insurance but could be a catalyst for success in life after football if the individual plans for definite occupational roles.
Note: Some of the information used for this paper were gotten from Didier Drogba’s profile on google.
Prof Emmanuel Ojeme, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org