Cyrille Domoraud

Cyrille Domoraud
Center Back

The 2006 World Cup was a bittersweet experience for Cyrille Domoraud. He captained his country Côte d’Ivoire as they qualified for the FIFA World Cup™ and led them to their first-ever win in a game in the World Cup Finals. On the other hand, he was not selected for the first two games, and in the game he did play he got a red card.

“It was disappointing...but I accepted it and got on with it”

Domoraud accepted being left on the bench in the opening two games of the FIFA World Cup™ with good grace. “It was disappointing,” he says. “You always want to be among the starting line-up. The coach made his choices and I don’t hold anything against him for that. I accepted it and just got on with it.”

Born in Lakota, Côte d’Ivoire, Domoraud moved to France as a boy. In addition to playing for his own country, his career has taken him around Europe. He has played club football in Spain, Italy, Turkey and France—including the top teams Inter Milan and Marseille.

“I really thank God for being part of it,” Domoraud says. “It was Him that enabled me to go to the FIFA World Cup™, and I thank Him for everything He [has given] me in my life, and in my career, as I would never even have thought about becoming a professional football player. So I can’t really say, ‘Why is this happening, why aren’t I being picked, why this, why that?’ I was just delighted to be there.”

To ward off evil influences or bad luck, he dabbled in witchcraft

Domoraud believed in God but he thought that in order to ward off evil influences or bad luck in his career he needed to also dabble in witchcraft. He took part in ceremonies with witch doctors. “This was symbolized by a ring that I wore,” Domoraud says. “It had been given to me and was supposed to protect me from spells and accidents and all bad things.

“When I got injured while playing for Marseille, my sister prayed for me and told me to get rid of the ring,” he adds. “But I would not. One day we were sitting in the living room talking about God and I told her that I knew that God had His hand on my life. 

The next day he got rid of the rest of his lucky trinkets

“As we were talking I took my ring off and I told my sister, ‘Well, I think that today I’m ready to thank the Lord without having the witchcraft with me.’ And so I told my sister that the next day I would get rid of all the rest of my lucky trinkets. And I got rid of them all. It was then that I really became a Christian.

“When I was involved in witchcraft, I thought I had to look out for myself, I didn’t trust God to do it,” Domoraud says. “Now I realize that everything I have is a result of God’s hand.

Domoraud’s legacy—a training center for children in Abidjan

“The legacy that I would like to leave behind is the training center that I set up,” he adds. Domoraud came from a humble background to become a World Cup captain. In recognizing how blessed he has been, he has taken the initiative to help children in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, through the Cyrille Domoraud Training Centre. 

“The center enables kids, often from bad neighborhoods or even street children to have somewhere to live, food, an education and football coaching,” Domoraud says.

Already more than 10 kids from the center have represented Côte d’Ivoire in football in their age-group. As Domoraud says, “With the help of God, perhaps some of them may be able one day to have the same career that I’ve had. This would be something I’d be proud of.”

He has a message he passes on

Domoraud has a message he passes on to the children at the center and to people he meets, “If you’re trusting in something other than God, I encourage you to lay it down, as I did. Invite God into your life instead. He’s all you’ll ever need.”

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