Didier Drogba's quest to become the Cote d'Ivoire Football Association (FA) president has suffered a huge blow after the country's former players unanimously voted for his rival at the preliminary polling stage.
In an embarrassing turn of events, the former Chelsea star lost out in an area perceived to be his stronghold.
Eleven out of fourteen members of the Association of Former Ivorian Footballers endorsed Sory Diabate for the top job, with three others abstaining from the vote.
Drogba and Idriss Diallo, the outgoing vice-president, received no votes in a process that was done via video conferencing.
The legendary Drogba enjoyed a glittering career as a player in Europe helping Chelsea to win four league titles plus the UEFA Champions League titles.
Since his retirement, he openly expressed his wish to get involved in football administration and even revealed in an interview last year that he turned down the chance to coach Chelsea so as to head the Ivory Coast FA.
But not even a significant charity gesture could convince the voters after he recently offered his hospital to be used as a testing and treatment centre for coronavirus.
Chelsea officials are understood to have offered the former striker a senior management role following Mauricio Sarri's departure during the summer.
"Chelsea offered me the chance to return to them as a coach," he told the English media.
"But being a coach does not interest me. I am a leader, and my vision is bigger than just the simple role of being a coach. I could have stayed at Chelsea, but believe the real challenge is here."