A two –day symposium on African football with the theme, ‘African Football: Our Vision’ ended in Rabat, Morocco on Wednesday with high hopes for the future of the African game.
Presidents and General Secretaries of CAF’s 55 Member Associations were joined by Chairmen of Leagues, top –notch club owners, marketing gurus, media luminaries, broadcast partners, legal experts and playing legends at enthusiastic sessions held inside the International Conference Centre Mohammed VI in Skhirat, on the outskirts of Morocco’s administrative capital.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Secretary General Fatma Samoura, a Senegalese, also attended, with the former calling out African football leaders to eradicate the ugly menace of age cheating as a first step in fostering the growth of the game.
“This symposium will prove crucial to the future of African football. We must be united and work very hard, and be sincere in putting the best ideas on the table to propel African football to new levels,” said Infantino.
In an impressive mix of English and French (and a few words in Arabic), the FIFA boss also pledged the world body’s support for the steps that must be taken to reposition the African game, while acknowledging that women football in African has potential to be a much bigger brand. He also asserted that long –term investment is the way to go for African football.
CAF President Ahmad, who spoke after Morocco’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Rachid Talmi and Infantino during Tuesday’sopening ceremony, said: “The truth is that we must find consensus here on the way forward for the African game. We must focus on the essentials and forge a change in the direction of the African game. We will be having a different symposium for the women’s game in the first quarter of 2018.”
After the first session that had Infantino, Ahmad, UNAIDS’ Djibril Diallo and beIN Media Group’s Nasser El Khelaifi, the gathering broke into different work groups, who made recommendations and proposals that were presented and harmonizedon Tuesday. The proposals from the work groups, and submissions from different stakeholders as collated, would be considered by the CAF Executive Committee at its meeting on Thursday morning.
A CAF Extra –Ordinary General Assembly will take place at the Hotel Sofitel in Rabat on Friday.