There is a biblical saying that there is no prophet in his land. But it is possible that Didier Drogba did not read this verse.
Welcomed by legions of adoring fans wherever he goes in his native country of Ivory Coast, Drogba is no stranger to nights of glory. the success of the Champions League Final in Munich in 2012, the celebration of the Premier League title, and playing for his country on the biggest stage of all, the World Cup; The 44-year-old has done it all for this beautiful game.
But after retiring, the former Chelsea striker has focused on giving back to the community around him and the African continent.
Founded in 2007, and Didier Drogba Foundation It aims to improve access to healthcare and education, help eradicate poverty, empower women, and combat hunger.
In the intervening years, she has electrified schools, built health centers, and donated orphanages throughout Côte d’Ivoire.
In recognition of the foundation’s achievements, Drogba was presented with the inaugural CNN “Off the Pitch” award in partnership with the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards. Now in its thirteenth edition, this year’s ceremony is on November 17, and it comes just three days before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
“It means a lot to me and the people working in the foundation,” Drogba told CNN’s Becky Anderson. “Every time we get support, it’s the people, the kids, the women who benefit the most. I’m really proud of it.
“Playing for the national team and getting all the love and support from Ivorians and Africans,” added Drogba, when asked why he was inspired to set up the foundation.
“I think if I can have such a good career, it is also because of their support.”
The CNN Award is an acknowledgment of Drogba’s impact on wider society and culture as well as his philanthropic work.
Other nominees are charities founded by Real Madrid and AC Milan clubs. CNN is credited with helping make sports more inclusive through global projects that educate young people about the game and how it can benefit them.
Drogba is also receiving praise for his work as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador, a role in which he helps communities improve their physical health and overall well-being.
In particular, he has been an advocate for good health practices during the Covid-19 pandemic, and WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus has hailed Drogba as a “proven hero on and off the field”.
“I think movement is life. So, the more you move, the more active you are, the healthier you are,” Drogba told CNN.
“We’ve seen that during this pandemic where Covid has killed a lot of people and the pandemic has been really, really hard for people who aren’t really active or for people who have some problems already.”
Drogba was nearly handed his award by CNN ahead of the ceremony in Dubai, where among the nominees for Men’s Player of the Year is the recent Ballon D’Or winner. Karim Benzema
In the women’s category, the star of FC Barcelona Alexia Potellas England defender Lucy Bronze remains in contention.
Drogba is no stranger to inspiring his countrymen She played a great role In promoting a cease-fire during the First Ivorian Civil War.
The national team had just made history, securing a place in the 2006 World Cup, their first ever appearance in a global tournament with a 3-1 away victory over Sudan.
The captain, Cyril Dumoreau, then invited the media into the dressing room after the match and handed the microphone to Drogba, then the star of the team.
“The men and women of Ivory Coast,” he said from below the lens, his face stern and sincere. “From north, south, center and west, we proved today that all Ivorians can coexist and play together with a common goal: to qualify for the World Cup.”
The bloody civil war will kill an estimated 4,000 people and displace more than a million. Drogba’s speech and the team’s qualification for the World Cup helped convince the government and the new opposition forces to cease fire and resume peace talks.
In early 2007, the two warring sides signed a formal peace agreement, prompting then-President Laurent Gbagbo to declare the war over.
“It worked so well because this message was broadcast on TV news for lunch and at night every day for six months. And we were able to get it.” [a] cease-fire. That’s the effect, a message like this from a footballer can achieve [that]Drogba to CNN.
Despite his influence on the Ivorians and a recent failed bid for the position of president of the country’s football federation, Drogba has maintained that he has no political ambitions.
This has nothing to do with politics. “I want a healthy continent,” he said. “I want a place where Africans can go abroad, play, go home and have a good life. That’s all I want.”