How Football Saved the Ivory Coast

popthirdworld:

The man on the left is more interesting.

Didier Drogba is a footballer from the Ivory Coast, who played a vital role ending a civil war and bringing peace to his country. Moments after leadinghis nation to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany back in October 2005 as captain, Drogba decided instinctively to take advantage of his country’s attention and the emotional wave they were on after the victory. He picked up a microphone in the dressing room and, surrounded by his team-mates, fell to his knees live on national television. He begged both warring factions to lay down their arms. It worked. Within a week, his bold wish had been granted.

Drogba then helped move the African Cup of Nations qualifier to the rebel stronghold of Bouake, bringing the warring leaders together to have to celebrate their nation and its sports stars. It was a move that helped cement the peace process after the cease fire. In September 2011, Drogba joined the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission as a representative to help return peace to his home nation. Check out more information here.

UPDATE: There’s a doco making the festival rounds right now called The Beautiful Game which looks at the profound power soccer/football has in Africa. Drogba’s story is featured in it. Check it out at a festival near you! Cheers Scrumtruelescent for the heads up!

Mmmm I really like what I understand to be the underlying premise here, but I’m going to have to disagree with the title and point out that things were and continue to be a bit more complicated than that in Ivory Coast. Certainly to say that Football “saved” the country is a stretch, especially given that just over 12 months ago Ivory Coast was in the thick of civil war again, in which thousands of people died (which isn’t mentioned above at all) and while the situation is GREATLY improved now, it’s still far from perfect. Indeed I’m not saying Drogba isn’t a legend and that I wouldn’t have his babies, but oversimplifying the situation isn’t helpful, especially when we in the western world hear so little about what’s going on in places like Ivory Coast already… I like the sentiment, but there is a lot more to the story…

Posted 2 years ago
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