When Didier Drogba ended civil war in Ivory Coast with one request

Didier Drogba’s name is etched in the history books as an icon of the game. The forward illuminated the Premier League with excellence, guiding his club Chelsea to glory by lifting numerous titles. His nine-year spell at Stamford Bridge has cemented his status as a legend.

One of the best of his generation, Drogba is regarded as a hero in Côte d’Ivoire and served as an inspirational figure. Retiring in 2018, the forward remains his country’s all-time top scorer. However, his influence clearly extends beyond the pitch as he once played a crucial role in stopping a civil war in his country.

Didier Drogba once ended civil war in Ivory Coast

During the early 2000s, Ivory Coast was divided into two parts where the rebellion group, The New Forces of Ivory Coast, occupied the northern part, while the government controlled the south. This division led to a civil war that significantly disrupted the nation going into 2005.

Meanwhile, their national team participated in FIFA World Cup qualifiers, aiming to secure their first-ever World Cup appearance. They were facing Sudan on 8 October 2005 and needed better results than group member Cameroon, who was playing Egypt that same day.

Ivory secured a win in their match and with the other game ending in a 1-1 draw, they moved closer to World Cup qualification. Post-match, during the dressing room celebration, the Chelsea star leveraged the moment to urge unity and peace among his Ivorian teammates, aiming to end the conflict in their war-torn nation.

He said, “Men and women of Ivory Coast. From the north, south, center, and west, we proved today that all Ivorians can coexist and play together with a shared aim of qualifying for the World Cup. We promised you that the celebrations would unite the people today we beg you on our knees.”

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Via-Times of Malta

Subsequently, the plea for peace made an impact, leading to an agreement that ended a five-year conflict. Ivory Coast secured their first-ever World Cup qualification by defeating Madagascar 5-0, earning a spot in the 2006 World Cup, and then went on to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 tournaments, respectively.

Didier Drogba’s career in national colours

Didier Drogba enjoyed a stellar playing career, securing the Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles among a total haul of 19 trophies, showcasing his goal-scoring prowess that played a key role in his team’s success.

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Beyond his on-field glories, Drogba’s efforts to end civil unrest in his country stand out as a defining highlight of his career, marking him as a hero in national colors. He earned 105 caps for the Elephants, scoring 65 goals and becoming their all-time top scorer.

The forward was honored as the African Footballer of the Year twice and was named Côte d’Ivoire Player of the Year four times. During the 2011 AFCON, he clinched the Golden Boot award. At the club level, he is Chelsea’s third-highest goal scorer with 164 goals.


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