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When Didier Drogba Stopped A Civil War

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When Didier Drogba Stopped A Civil War

Didier Drogba had many high points through his football career, becoming a Chelsea legend in his nine years at Stamford Bridge.

However, none of those, even his performance against Bayern Munich to bring the Blues their one and only Champions League title, will hold a candle to this.

Back in the 2000s, the Ivory Coast hero managed to stop a civil war that was raging in his home country, with the details reported by the BBC.

On 8 October 2005, Drogba was playing for the Ivory Coast against Sudan in a World Cup qualifier, knowing that they needed to better the result of Cameroon, who were playing Egypt on the same night, to go through.

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The Ivorians won their match, with Premier League stars Drogba, Didier Zokora, Emmanuel Eboue, and Kolo Toure in the team. After the final whistle, Cameroon were drawing 1-1 with Egypt, with just minutes to go - and were awarded a penalty.

Luckily for Drogba and co., Pierre Wome missed from the spot, to allow Ivory Coast through to the World Cup for the first time in their history.

Quite rightly, the players celebrated wildly, but it wasn't long before Drogba's attentions turned to the civil war that had been raging in his nation since 2002.

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Speaking after the match, he said: ""Men and women of Ivory Coast. From the north, south, centre, and west, we proved today that all Ivorians can coexist and play together with a shared aim - to qualify for the World Cup.

"We promised you that the celebrations would unite the people - today we beg you on our knees."The players fell to their knees. "The one country in Africa with so many riches must not descend into war. Please lay down your weapons and hold elections," Drogba finished.

The players then rose and sang: "We want to have fun, so stop firing your guns!"

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The words had a huge effect, eventually helping the two warring sides to the negotiating table where a ceasefire was signed.

This wasn't the end of it.

The year after, while touring the rebel-held north of the Ivory Coast, he announced that the national team's match against Madagascar on 3 June 2007 would be played in the rebel stronghold of Bouake.

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Being from the south himself, it was an attempt to bring the nation back together. It was very successful at the time, with a 5-0 victory capped by Drogba scoring the final goal to cause celebrations across the whole country.

The Ivory Coast national team, with Drogba as its spokesperson and leader, had brought peace - even if it was not to last. Violence again erupted five years later after disputed elections, and then president, Laurent Gbagbo, has only this week been acquitted of war crimes at The Hague.

However, for a short period, Chelsea legend Didier Drogba managed to bring peace to the Ivory Coast.

Topics: Football News, Chelsea, Football, ivory coast

Max Miller
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