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‘Where are Okocha and Kanu?’ – Fans react after Drogba bid for Ivory Coast presidency

5:49 pm AEST 13/4/22
Austin Jay Jay Okocha of Nigeria (c) celebrates goal during the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Afcon.
Supporters in Africa welcome the decision by the Chelsea legend to go for the top seat but call on others to follow suit

Fans across Africa have hailed the decision by Chelsea legend Didier Drogba to join the race for the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) top seat in the coming elections.

The 44-year-old former Ivory Coast captain was on Monday among six candidates cleared by the Normalization Committee after presenting his nomination papers for the exercise set for April 23. The other five include Yatte Ellele Jean-Baptiste, Arnaud Aka, Laurent Kouakou, Idriss Diallo, and Sory Diabate.

Drogba’s decision to go for the top seat came a few months after former Barcelona player Samuel Eto’o vied for the same in Cameroonian Football Federation and was elected the new boss after garnering 43 votes, ahead of the incumbent president, who managed 31 votes.

The move by the former Chelsea player has elicited mixed reactions among fans, who have called for other legends to follow suit and take charge of football federations across Africa.

Taking to GOAL Africa Facebook page, Nigeria fans seem to be the most affected as they feel their former legends led by Jay-Jay Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, Taribo West, and Nwankwo Kanu, to name but a few, have let them down and should also take up the challenge when current boss Amaju Pinnick’s second-term comes to an end.

Below is how fans reacted to Drogba's bid on GOAL Africa Facebook page.

Mollis Aisalenda feels it is time for Okocha to take up the post in Nigeria saying under his leadership the country can rediscover its lost glory: “Where is Jay-Jay Okocha? I am from Kenya but I prefer you to take the Super Eagles of Nigeria where it was before.”

“Okocha, Kanu, Ikpeba, Garba Lawal, Taribo West, are here campaigning for someone, who has been in power over 40 years to become a President,” wondered Uchenna Asogwa, who thinks it is time for the legends to stand up to be counted.

Brains Uteh posed: “Our legends are busy campaigning for a 70-year-old man to become President.”

Soo Mie did also not spare Nigeria legends claiming they are busy campaigning for politicians instead of taking up the role: “Samuel Eto'o is Cameroon FA President, Didier Drogba is aspiring to become Ivory Coast FA President, my own country stars like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and others are busy playing, still playing games for some useless politicians.”

“Go win and reshape things. Nigeria needs a good hand too,” said Ukaba Martin.

Anyaorie Osonwa Ofonagorom feels it is time for one of their own to occupy the federation’s office as the head: “This is now the new route for ex-footballers to occupy the country's FA. Hope one of our ex-Super Eagles will vie for the Glass House when Amaju Pinnick steps down in September.”

Babatunde Ayinde wondered why Nigeria legends are not keen to go for such positions insisting the management of NFF is in the wrong hands and needs them: “I don't know why our own legends in Nigeria don't like to participate in NFF affairs, the management is in wrong people hand's, its well.”

Bishop Oye Goke explained the bid by Drogba will wake up Nigeria legends: “The Lord will see you [Drogba] through... I hope Taribo West and his colleagues can see this.”

Another fan from Ghana also called on the former Black Stars’ legends to stop living in the shadows of non-footballers and take up the role: “And Ghana too. The old footballers are afraid to contest and rather living in the shadows of non-footballers who occupy the FA and award them with management committee,” wondered Obiora Okafor.

Meanwhile, the decision by Drogba to throw his hat for the top seat has been received well across Africa.

R.M. Mondray wished Drogba well by explaining: “I personally wish Ivory Coast’s former captain all the best to win the top seat in the coming elections. African football will improve for better for the future generation of soccer stars.”

Yao Douglas T wrote: “Well done legend, football should be for football people and not for politicians and businessmen, best of luck DD," while Bebold T-Nartey predicted victory for Drogba in the April 23 exercise: “He’s winning hands down. We love Didier Drogba.”

“At least another hopeful, which means it's good for football, if legends take control of their federations then slow but sure Fifa will be having a former footballer at the top we are tired of these politicians leading our soccer bodies,” explained Nyasha Marambanyika.

Kabelo KB said: “I know he will win, he is a living legend and a person, who can stop an ongoing war in his country, nothing can stand in his way fingers crossed. In Drogba, I believe.”

Rodrigue Ndoole Baeni hailed Drogba’s move to follow in Eto’o’s footsteps by saying: “He is just following Samuel Eto'o's step and hope to see him running that federation. If there's someone, who deserves that position is Didier.

“He is rich and has got a better understanding of football and he isn't looking for money. His experience may be beneficial for Ivory Coast.”

Do you agree it is time for legends to step up and take football leadership not only in Nigeria but across African federations? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.