Didier Drogba, the former Chelsea striker, and Ivorian national team captain have called for “compulsory medical visits” after the sudden death of a young footballer in Ivory Coast. The player, 19-year-old Yannick Angan, collapsed during a training session with his club, ASEC Mimosas, on February 27 and was pronounced dead soon after.
In a social media post, Drogba expressed his condolences to Angan’s family and teammates and called for action to prevent similar tragedies in the future. “We have to do more,” he wrote. “Compulsory medical visits must be established in our championships to avoid these sad events.”
Drogba’s call for mandatory medical exams for players is not new. He has been an advocate for better health and safety standards in football for many years, using his platform as a global superstar to raise awareness and push for change. In 2009, he donated $5 million to build a hospital in Abidjan, the largest city in Ivory Coast and has since launched several initiatives to improve access to healthcare in the country.
The death of Yannick Angan has once again highlighted the need for greater attention to player welfare in African football. Many clubs and national associations in the continent lack the resources and infrastructure to provide adequate medical care for their athletes, leading to preventable injuries and fatalities. According to a study by the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO), African players are three times more likely to suffer from career-ending injuries than their European counterparts.
Drogba’s proposal for compulsory medical visits could help address this issue by ensuring that all players receive regular check-ups and are monitored for potential health risks. This would not only benefit the athletes themselves but also their families, clubs, and communities. By investing in their physical and mental well-being, football organizations can create a more sustainable and responsible sport that serves the public interest.
However, implementing such a policy would require significant resources and cooperation from all stakeholders, including national federations, clubs, and medical professionals. It would also need to be tailored to the specific needs and challenges of African football, taking into account factors such as climate, nutrition, and travel conditions.
Nonetheless, the tragic death of Yannick Angan should serve as a wake-up call for the football community to take action and prioritize player welfare. As Drogba said, “We can’t afford to lose more lives on the field. We owe it to our young people to provide them with a safe and healthy environment to express their talents.” By working together, we can create a football culture that values human life above all else.