Victor Ezeji has revealed that he was shocked and unable to comprehend Didier Drogba’s defeat in the Ivorian football presidential election.
The ex-Chelsea star was tipped as the favourite to defeat challengers Idriss Diallo and Sory Diabate to the office.
In Sunday’s election conducted among former Cote d’Ivoire players through video conferencing, the two-time African Player of the Year scored zero out of the 14 votes available.
As well as Drogba, incumbent vice-president Diallo got no votes as league president Diabate reaped 11 ballots, while three withdrew.
Didier Zokora, who was Drogba’s assistant captain, shockingly was among the retired players who failed to approve the 42-year-old.
Nonetheless, Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) legend Ezeji who is gloomy about the outcome tries to find answers to what went wrong.
“First, I will attribute this to envy because most times, ex-internationals seem to envy themselves especially when one is thriving, there are so much envy and bad blood,” the former Enyimba, Club Africain and Heartland forward told Goal.
“I think that is one of the things that must have led Drogba not getting a vote from any of the ex-internationals which is very absurd.
“In most sane countries, you’ll see ex-internationals head their FAs because it’s like putting a round peg in a round hole. That was what everybody expected it [the Ivorian election] to be.
“Personally, I thought Drogba would have a clean sweep because the ex-internationals were involved. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
“Also, when it comes to elections generally in Africa, people tend to sell their votes for envelopes. Drogba probably didn’t reach out to them or make mouthwatering promises.
“Like my friend would say, for you to know how popular you are, it is when you contest for an election.”
Before drawing the curtain on his illustrious career in 2018, Drogba enjoyed a trophy-laden spell – especially in England where he claimed four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and three League Cups.
Some have attributed his indecent loss to a lack of experience – an assertion Ezeji totally disagrees with.
“We might say he doesn’t have the experience, but there is no market in this world where experience is sold,” he continued.
“Sometimes, you have to learn on the job and having played at the highest level, I think that’s enough experience.
“Again, they might have felt he is not capable enough to lead their FA, well, that’s their personal opinion which I don’t want to dabble into, but I still believe they should have stood by Drogba and see how it would go, unfortunately, they failed to do that.”
The 2003 Caf Champions League winner and ex-Nigeria international suggests Drogba should explore what happened to know where things fell apart.
“This issue needs to be treated with urgency because we have always lamented that ex-internationals are being relegated when it comes to football administration, and here one man is taking it upon himself to take the mantle of leadership but he is being turned down by his fellow ex-internationals,” he added.
“It is not a good thing, I feel Drogba should go deep to find out what really happened because it is very unbelievable that out of 14 people, 11 voted against him and three absconded. He should also find out why the three absconded.”
Drogba will be hoping that members of Cote d’Ivoire’s active footballers’ association, coaches, referees and physios will vote in his favour.
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