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Ivorian football is sinking into crisis. Already absent from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the national team will not participate in the World Cup to be held in Qatar in 2022. The Elephants were taken out by Cameroon in Douala (0-1), on November 16, during the last match of the second round of qualifying.
Patrice Beaumelle, the French coach of the Ivory Coast team, has been confirmed in his duties, but the loss to the Indomitable Lions was experienced as a trauma by the supporters just over a month before the Coupe d Africa of Nations (CAN) and while the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) is still struggling to find a president.
Since January, the body has been headed by a standardization committee set up at the request of the International Football Federation (FIFA). Led by Senator Mariam Dao Gabala, he is supposed to resolve the succession crisis that has torn the FIF since the rejection of the candidacy of the former international Didier Drogba. The election of the president, which has already been postponed several times, was due to take place on December 20, but Mariam Dao Gabala confirmed to the World Africa that this timetable was not tenable.
A decision deplored by Idriss Diallo, vice-president of AFAD Djékanou, a Ligue 1 club, and declared candidate for the presidency of the FIF: “This committee was set up in January 2021 with the mission of organizing the election during the year. However, this will not be the case. Too much time has been lost and this is detrimental to all of Ivorian football ”, he believes. Two other great figures of Ivorian football are in the ranks: Didier Drogba and the former vice-president of the FIF Sory Diabaté.
An election at the end of March 2022?
Several clubs wish to send a letter to FIFA so that it can intervene so that the election is organized by the end of March 2022 at the latest. “Want Ivorian football to be managed by an elected federation rather than by a provisional team and which has an approximate knowledge of the world of football, assures Eugène Diomandé, president of Séwé Sport of San Pedro. Côte d’Ivoire will organize CAN 2023, we cannot imagine that the federation is still managed for too long by a committee ”.
For Mariam Dao Gabala – whose mandate should be extended by three or six months by FIFA, like that of the standardization committee – the deadline of March 2022 is “Reasonably possible, but we must nevertheless return to a more peaceful climate”.
It’s urgent. “The professional championships (Ligue 1 and 2) were interrupted for a year, between March 2020 and [mars] 2021, due to the Covid-19 epidemic, recalls Idriss Diallo. In sporting terms, our clubs involved in the African Cups have suffered from this lack of competition. They are also suffering economically, because private sponsors hesitate to make a long-term commitment with Ivorian football managed by a standardization committee for an as yet undetermined period. “
The professional championships were however able to resume in March thanks in part to financial assistance from the Ivorian state and the renewal of the contract between the FIF and Canal +, broadcaster of Ligue 1. “The competitions are going normally and I do not see why any sponsors would hesitate to invest in football on the grounds that the federation is currently managed by a standards committee, defends Mariam Dao Gabala. What interests the economic partners is the smooth running of the competitions and their visibility, which is currently the case. “