Yesterday, Chelsea defeated Stoke City 1-0 on a 68th minute goal from Didier Drogba to stay in contention for fourth place in the EPL and a Champion’s League spot. The goal was Drogba’s 100th in the EPL, and he is the first African Player to reach this achievement.
His journey has been long, difficult and ultimately fruitful. He was born in the Ivory Coast, but left at age five to live in France with an uncle, who played profession football, where he lived for three years before giving in to homesickness and returning to his parents. Soon therafter his parents lost their jobs, and he returned to France and began playing football on a daily basis at the park.
By football standards, he was a late bloomer as he didn’t play regular team football until age 15. Lacking a background in formal academy training and a persistent unsettled family stunted his growth as a player, and he did not sign a professional contract until the age of 21.
Drogba came into his own at French club Guingamp and later Marsaille before moving to Chelsea in the EPL in 2004 where he became a world class striker. The Drog is captain of the Ivory Coast national team and it’s all time leading scorer.
Off the field, the Drog has worked to bring peace to the Ivory Coast. His 2006 plea to lay down arms after leading his country to the World Cup ended five years of fighting. He started the Didier Drogba Foundation and donating a $3 million dollar signing bonus from Pepsi to build a hospital in his hometown.
The Drog’s belief in his own abilities sustained him through periods of time when becoming even a player that could earn a living playing football were in doubt. His character compelled him to give back to his country through peace and charitable works. Job well done.