The Federation of Ivorien Football (FIF) for months have been trying to stop former captain of Elephants of Cote 'd'Ivoire, Didier Drogba from contesting the Federation's election.
Obviously, the gang-up to stop the former Chelsea, Galatasaray and Olympique Marseille player is a plot between FIF and Ivorien Sports Ministry. Many have asked, why are they afraid of Drogba?
It is believed that the fear nursed by these "gangsters" is because they know Drogba will effect a change in his country and perhaps initiate such in the continent. Such change will certainly expose them.
African football has been sick just like African politics or leadership. Our players move to Europe and other continents for peanuts just because our leagues cannot develop beyond their present state. What we pay in Africa as salary to players are used for call cards in lesser European leagues by their players.
Football agents and scouts of European clubs price away our talents and hand then very outrageous contracts, fees and wages compared to their European counterparts who don't do half of the jobs they do on the field of play. Most times, these agents hawk our players to the point of landing them in obscured leagues. They are happy because they don't want to return to suffering in Africa.
Some leagues in Africa don't have sponsors despite the huge potential abound coupled with the massive talents available. Many leagues have been played in the last few years without sponsors.
Sponsors dread African football leagues because of mismanagement of funds and embezzlement. Corruption has taken over most federations in Africa. And those managing football want to cover up their tracks hence, they don't want the likes of Drogba to come on board.
Personalities like Drogba will bring to their wealth of experience, huge contacts and sponsors into the sport. This will create rapid transformation which will expose the ills, inexperience and corrupt practises bedeviling the sport over the years...even as it will harness the potential and sell them to investors outside the continent.
These investors have made the English Premier League among others very thick through the massive funds pumped in by ways of buying clubs and players among other investments.
Personalities like Drogba and Samuel Eto'O are needed in African football. They have shown great commitments and huge concern but the landmines laid by their federations managers have prevented them from taking over. These gentlemen are not coming to steal money but to invest their own money, time, energy, experience and expertise.
In the entire African continent Kalusha Bwalya is arguably the only ex-international who has muscled his way to the top of his country's football leadership. The result has been seen over the years.
The gluttons milking African football dry will readily say, that you are an ex-international does not guarantee that you will be a good football administrator. So why turn around to be stumbling blocks to the rise and progress of the same ex-internationals who merely want to contribute their own quotas to the development of the sports?
Here in Nigeria, the best an ex-international will aspire to be is a member of the technical committee of the NFF. Ironically, those even heading the committee which is supposed to be exclusively for ex-internationals are misfits who did not kick an orange talk less of a football all their lives. Meanwhile, the technical committee job is an ordinary appointment by the federation just to silence outspoken ex-internationals or make it seem they are carried along.
Former captain of the then, Green Eagles, Segun Odegbami (MON) tried severally to bring his wealth of experience to bear on Nigerian football by seeking election to run for the office of President of the federation but those benefitting from the dirty and corrupt system were cog in the wheel of his progress.
This is the plight of ex-internationals who meant well for the sport in Africa. The status quo must remain. The old order must reign. That was why a certain Issa Hayatou spent close to three decades as CAF President. The world has seen how much of African football he developed while sitting tight on that exalted seat.
African football needs a revolution! Shame on those stopping Drogba!
Source/Credit: Desmond Ekwueme - A Renowned Journalist based in Nigeria