Yaya Toure has thrown his support behind Didier Drogba in the ongoing race to become president of the Ivorian Football Association (FIF).
The Chelsea legend announced he would be running for the post in September 2019, though his campaign took a major hit at the end of April.
In a recent vote between former Ivory Coast players, 11 of the 14 votes went to current incumbent Sory Diabate. Drogba and current vice president Idriss Diallo won zero votes between them, with three former players withdrawing from the vote.
Now, the ex-forward will be hoping Toure’s backing provides his campaign with a much-needed shot in the arm.
"It's time for change in our football. It needs modernity," Toure said on his Instagram. "When I say I support Drogba, it's also for the good of the country, to have a former player of his kind investing himself in Africa.
"Didier was my big brother, my captain. People talked a lot about us but we were always calm, wise. We know each other. Too many people tried to criticise him - the press, fans."
Current Ivory Coast players haven’t yet had their opportunity to vote, and Toure is hopeful these will follow his lead in backing Drogba: "I know he is looking for support and I hope he will get it from some of the voters, presidents of clubs or AFI (Ivorian Association of Football Players).”
Among the former players to vote for Diabate was Drogba’s former assistant captain Didier Zokora.
Victor Ezeji, a legend of the Nigeria Football League who won three caps for Nigeria, said he thought Drogba’s former team-mates didn’t vote for him out of jealousy.
“First, I will attribute this to envy because most times, ex-internationals seem to envy [each other]. Especially when one is thriving, there is so much envy and bad blood,” Ezeji told Goal. “I think that is one of the things that must have led to 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 mouth-watering promises. Like my friend would say, for you to know how popular you are, it is when you contest an election.”