Ex-Rangers forward El Hadji Diouf eyes Senegal presidential bid

El Hadji Diouf is reportedly planning to run for the Senegalese presidency, after the ex-Rangers forward was inspired by fellow former footballer George Weah being elected president of Liberia.

Presidential bid: El Hadji Diouf during his time at Rangers. Picture: SNS Group

Diouf, 37, announced last year that he was keen on becoming an MP but after Weah’s success, the Dakar native appears to be aiming higher.

He said: “For many years I use to think about football but I have a new career and it is a political career.

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“I have taken the decision to do politics because I have people waiting for me to change things in my country and I am ready to do that because I want to be the soldier of the youngsters.”

Diouf, who played 22 times for Rangers and scored two goals, was last year working as a government goodwill ambassador and had an additional role as a sport adviser to current president Macky Sall.

According to FourFourTwo magazine, Diouf believes a career in politics will help him “change a lot in football”.

He is quoted as saying: “I have a lot of passion for politics, and I have people in Senegal who are mentoring me. That is the future for me, because a lot of Senegalese people are able to listen to me.”

Diouf, who had spells with clubs in France, England and Malaysia during his playing career, had been attending coaching courses with a view to going into management but said he had abandoned this because he had “better plans for things I want to do.”

Capped 70 times by Senegal, Diouf began his career with Sochaux in France, before joining Rennes and Lens. He moved to England in 2002, playing for Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers on loan, before joining the Trotters permanently in 2005.

Stints at Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers followed, and he signed on loan with Rangers during the latter stages of his time at Ewood Park. Short spells followed at Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United before he wrapped up his playing days with Malaysian side Sabah.

In March 2016, Diouf claimed he had been sent a letter bomb while playing at Ibrox and that all his mail was searched as a result, but police said they had no record of the incident.

In an April 2011 interview with an Algerian magazine, he spoke of his friendship with former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, hailing him as “a man I’ve always admired”.