Abidjan. Didier Drogba's bid for the presidency of the Ivorian Football Association (FIF) received a further set back on Tuesday when the nation's player association (AFI) announced it was backing a rival.
Drogba needs a nomination from one of five eligible bodies to stand. AFI was the fourth to make its choice, and, like the three that had already announced their endorsement, decided against the national team's all-time top scorer.
AFI said it was backing current FIF vice-president Idriss Diallo, who has the backing of former internationals Bonaventure Kalou, Cyril Domoraud and Ahmed Ouattara, in the September 5 election.
"In line with the majority of its members, the board decided to grant AFI's sponsorship to the list led by Idriss Diallo," AFI said in a statement signed by its general secretary Aruna Dindane, another former international.
"This choice is in line with the recommendation made by two thirds of the delegates at the end of last Friday's meeting," said the statement.
Yaya Toure, who like his brother Kolo Toure has backed Drogba, expressed his dismay.
"Ivorian players playing in Europe are worried about the current situation and do not understand why AFI does not seem to want to give its sponsorship to Didier Drogba," said Yaya Toure.
Of the five groups that can sponsor a candidate, four have already made their choice.
The association of coaches, like AFI, has supported Diallo. The association of former players and the association of referees are sponsoring league president Sory Diabate, who also has the backing of the country's most-capped player Didier Zokora and former internationals Youssouf Falikou Fofana and Abdoulaye 'Ben Badi' Traore.
Only the society of football doctors has not yet endorsed a candidate.