On May 4, Yacine Idriss Diallo will officially take the reins of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF), after beating Didier Drogba and Sory Diabaté in a very close election.
Talent, tactical understanding and instinct. These are the qualities a footballer must have to score a panenka. You also need a little carelessness… All the qualities that Yacine Idriss Diallo had to show to win a ballot in which he was nevertheless one of the outsiders.
Indeed, while he was not necessarily the most popular, nor the most exuberant, Yacine Idriss Diallo positioned himself where we did not necessarily expect him. The Ivorian became the president of the Ivorian Football Federation on April 23. The local press, like the magazine Afrique sur 7, sees in it the defeat of "the arrogance (of Drogba) in the face of the humility of Yacine Idriss Diallo". The defeat also, with Diabaté, of a system.
The FIF has been in crisis for several years. Five years ago, the Elephants of Côte d'Ivoire failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Club leaders and very influential people then demanded the departure of Augustin Sidy Diallo, head of the FIF since 2011. At the end of 2020, the leader will die.
FIFA would have preferred Didier Drogba to him
Since then, the dates of the presidential election have been constantly postponed. With thinly veiled interference from the International Football Federation (FIFA) and the Confederation of African Football (FAF), which did everything to push President Alassane Ouattara to support Didier Drogba.
While Infantino and Motsepe, the respective presidents of the two international institutions, acted behind the scenes, Drogba tried to rally support. The college of voters of the FIF is notably composed of representatives of Ligue 1, L2 and D3, as well as "interest groups". Drogba finally got only 16% of the votes and did not even pass the first round. In the second, Diallo was announced the winner, by 63 votes against 61, just ahead of Sory Diabaté.
The end of two years of procrastination. And the beginning of a new era. Diallo will have a lot to do. But his victory is not that of a man but of a program: faced with the popularity of Drogba and the experience of Diabaté, Idriss Diallo proposed to put amateur football back at the center of the game. Which seems to have been the winning recipe.
Because after two consecutive non-qualifications for the World Cup and two eliminations – in the quarters and in the round of XNUMX – of the last two African Cups of Nations (CAN), Diallo will have to review the functioning of the FIF. He should, according to those around him, rely on the recommendations of the EY firm, which listed the dysfunctions within the federation.
Diplomat and connoisseur of the world of football
Diallo's first project will also be that of television rights. The new president of the FIF should go to Paris, to meet the leaders of the Canal+ group, the current broadcaster of the Ivorian Ligue 1 matches. A file he knows well, since he went through the Ivorian Broadcasting Television (RTI). Idriss Diallo will then go to Geneva, to the FIFA headquarters. The international football body, which was counting on an unlikely victory for Drogba, will have to deal with the new president of the FIF.
A new leader who breathes football from a young age. Then aged 24, in 1984, he became vice-president of Asec Mimosas, a club in crisis. He will remain in office for five years and will study, from the inside, the workings of the FIF, of which he will become vice-president in 1990.
Still, his position is eminently political. In addition to the diplomacy he will have to demonstrate to have good relations with two personalities who did everything to bring about his defeat - Infantino and Motsepe - Diallo will have to navigate between the interests of the presidents of Ivorian clubs and the famous "interest groups" , very powerful within the local football world. But Idriss Diallo knows how to maneuver: before becoming president of the FIF and working in the private sector, he had chained important positions in the public service. Throughout his career, he was able to count on the support of the former Prime Minister, Hamed Bakayoko.