Former Ivory Coast international Bonaventure Kalou is now a mayor. The 40-year-old was elected as head of the municipality of Vavoua, west of the country, over the weekend.
The former Paris Saint Germain and Feyenoord attacking midfielder retired from football in 2010 and went into private business while also managing the affairs of his younger brother Salomon Kalou, a former Chelsea winger.
“I believe in sports and football. They have the power and discipline to educate, transform and prepare you for the future. Those virtues helped me to win my election and will guide me to lead,” Kalou told ACLsports in Abidjan.
With several retired African footballers preferring to branch out into coaching or consultancy, Kalou, who started his career with Ivorian giants Asec Mimosas, believes there is a void to fill beyond the pitch.
“Every ex footballer can’t just be a coach. We learnt so many things during our playing days that we need to give back to our respective communities.
“Africa is suffering today because of corruption. Footballers are trained to earn their results through hard work. Bringing that spirit into politics can help sanitise the system.
“I want more and more retired African footballers to consider entering politics. We can change the continent and make life better for our people,” he said.
Kalou won the UEFA Europa League with Feyenoord in 2002 while his brother Salomon clinched the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea in 2012.