Didier Drogba is Chelsea’s hero. He scored the winning goal in the final for the trophy it seemed like they had wanted forever. As a footballer he will go down in history, but as a man he is so, so much more. Whilst writing several features on footballers who have done nothing short of fantastic charity work it was hard not to be impressed with what they had done yet when it comes to the Ivorian striker, he simply blows them all out of the water.
Drogba is not just heavily involved in several charity projects, with the Didier Drogba Foundation prominent amongst them, he is simply a God in the Ivory Coast, playing a vital role in bringing the country – which was embroiled in a bitter Civil War- to peace. Drogba himself made the plea for a truce live on television begging on his knees, after the nation had qualified for the World Cup and it worked.
Less than a week later the country was coming out of the war that had ripped them apart and chief instigator in said peace was the striker the English press and fans have on occasion vilified for being a poor human being and a diver. Well if that is a poor human being I think we could do with one in the Middle East sometime soon.
Since his epic speech, Drogba has been elevated past the status of a hero in his home nation and is now simply something beyond that, becoming a representative of an Ivory Coast panel for reconciliation and being named as one of the hundred most influential people in the wold back in 2010 by Time magazine due to his successful role in bringing peace to the country.
Politics aside, Drogba is also one of the most charitable people around and has not only the aforementioned foundation which has been in existence since 2007 now and aims to not only educate people in Africa but also provide them with better living and health care conditions –most notably allowing for a hospital to be built in his home town with a whole host of other vital homes and buildings at his own personal expense being created.
The player felt that the first act of the foundation should be to build a hospital so that people could have the ‘basic chance to live’ and access healthcare that is a given to all of us reading this at home but for an African child living in poverty is nothing more than a distant dream. Chelsea FC also donated money for the project and three million pounds of Drogba’s own money went towards this too – it is hard to imagine certain other footballers doing this and that only speaks to how much the former Chelsea striker has done and how much more there is left to do.
A man like Drogba does not stop here however and has been involved in a wide range of activities, including helping to support the Special Olympics Cote d’Ivoire alongside the Solomon Kalou Foundation and becoming a goodwill ambassador for the country after the United Nations Development Programme approached him on the back of his previous charitable contributions and profile.
Drogba has an annual dinner in order to raise money for the projects he is involved in and fellow professionals and celebrities attend – this is where most people stop their involvement and interest – it is all too often we hear about a player hosting a fund raiser for charity and donating his time or a few shirts that have been signed but Drogba does so much more than that but financially and physically, using his fame and status to become what is turning out to be a saviour for the people of the Ivory Coast and an inspiration to the rest of the world.
To see the reaction of his fellow Ivorian’s to the player is nothing short of mind blowing – he is revered and has more influence than most in much higher positions of power than himself. The player will state he is only doing a small bit – what he can – and there is plenty more work to be done both politically and with the health, social and education side of things, hence the creation of the Didier Drogba Foundation, and the need for continuous work in Africa. Chelsea fans may see Drogba as a hero because of his performance in Munich but for the people of the Ivory Coast he is their hero and one that has brought peace to a warring nation and is doing all in his power to both keep it and improve the standard of living for his people.