Sport

Dubai Sports Council presents Drogba with ‘Medal of First Line of Defence’

Dubai Sports Council presents Drogba with ‘Medal of First Line of Defence’

Legendary footballer Didier Drogba received the UAE golden Visa, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai has announced on their official Instagram page on Wednesday

Recently, Brazil's 1994 World Cup hero Bebeto had also received the UAE golden visa.

Meanwhile, Drogba also received the ‘Medal of First Line of Defence’ from the Dubai Sports Council on Wednesday.

The former Chelsea striker received the medal in recognition of his support for the Council’s ‘Be Fit, Be Safe’ campaign.

The former Ivory Coast striker met Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council and Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council and showed his willingness to collaborate with the Council and invest in Dubai’s growing sports sector.

The Chelsea legend, who won four English Premier League titles and a Champions League crown in a decorated eight-year career with the London club, is looking for investment opportunities in Dubai, a DSC press release said.

“First, it is a place I have been coming to since 2004, and second, the people here are really friendly and welcoming, and have even become my brothers. Also for the quality of life, for the kids, for the security and for the overall quality,” said Drogba.

“The development here has also been amazing and I want to congratulate Dubai’s leadership for all their efforts to make sure people live here happy and in a safe place.”

Talking about the changes he has witnessed in Dubai since coming here first, Drogba said: “Oh my God, the changes… I think it is impossible to describe it. You have to experience it. In 2005 you come here, and you see the evolution when you come in 2006, and then 2008. And now in 2020, it is a completely different country and I get lost sometimes. But that’s a good thing because it means there is development, which, for me, is vital for a country.”

A few months back though, as Covid-19 brought the world to halt, Drogba was in his home country where he got the sad news about the demise of his first agent, Pape Diouf, who died with Coronavirus in March.

Senegalese Diouf started his career as a journalist but changed tracks to become a football agent, and later became President of French football Olympique de Marseille (2005-2009).

Drogba credits Diouf for defining his career and supporting him throughout, and his death showed him how serious Covid-19 was.

“I was in Cote d’Ivoire (during the lockdown) and it was a difficult moment because I lost my first agent,” said Drogba. “It was very difficult. You know when you are not face-to-face with something, it doesn’t affect you. When it doesn’t touch you directly, you don’t feel the risk and the dangers of this virus. But when one of your relative passes away, and you cannot even attend the funeral, it’s another level of sadness.

“That is why I am really emphasising: we need to stay safe. We need to respect all the precautionary measures and act responsibly. The simplest thing is to be responsible.”

Drogba also urged everyone to keep playing sports and adopt a healthy lifestyle, because that could be their best defence against the virus.

“According to the time we are living in now, I think it is important to make people understand that sport makes you stronger, and when you are stronger – I am not saying that you don’t need to use precautions – but sport helps you to boost your immune system and to fight against this virus,” said Drogba, who thanked Dubai Sports Council for presenting him with the ‘Medal of First Line of Defence’.

“I think that is the best way to fight this virus – to stay active, to move, to have a strong immune system, and then you can resist. I really want to spread this message to the whole population of UAE and say that: to be safe, we need to be cautious, we need to respect our life, and we need to respect the life of others.”