By Mitchell obi
President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino says although it is easier to raise world star players from Europe than it is in Africa, but adds, there is need for massive investments in football on the continent.
“Investment takes time,’’ Infantino observed, while speaking during the opening of the symposium, `African Football, Our Vision’ in Rabat, Morocco on Tuesday. The symposium holds Today, July 18 and July 19.
“We must invest in Africa and get them to cultivate and nurture their own players. That is long term development and it is the way to go.’’
In a rare mix of French and English, Infantino defined the critical nature of his desires and vision for Africa of today, saying “a united Africa where all the stakeholders gather to discuss the future of the game”.
Infantino paid tribute to the African football legends saying, “united we all will come out with a message. I believe in Africa. You must invest in the future of Africa.
“That much I said in my campaign. FIFA is at your side to help develop the game,’’ Infantino said as he declared the symposium open.
Ahmad, the president CAF, called for a minute silence in honour of those who died in the stampede in Senegal as well as the accident involving a Ghanaian top club, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, at Nkawkaw, a town, halfway in-between the Accra-Kumasi Highway.
It was a full house at the symposium featuring the presidents and secretary generals of CAF’s 55 member-nations and their National team coaches.
At the event were a sprinkling of celebrated players like Titi Camara of Guinea, Antoine Bell and Njeremi Njitap of Cameroon as well a deluge of sports journalists from across the world.
Ahmad, who was obviously happy to be in Morocco to declare open the symposium, traced the heritage of Morocco as a pioneer member of CAF.
He re-captured the emotion of his election in Addis Ababa inside the hall named after `Nelson Mandela’, and paid respects and gratitude to his Royal Majesty, the king of Morocco for bringing together the great African football family.
In a speech, the Minister of Youth and Sports, RACHID Talmi of Morocco, pledged to be faithful to a change agenda.
He said he hoped to find a consensus here in Rabat on the way forward. “CAF OUR CAF, Your CAF,’ we must focus on the essentials and forge a change from the work to be done here’’.
He adds: “your massive presence is of great significance to colleagues in the executive committee’’.
The African Football Symposium is organised under the High Patronage of the King of Morocco, His Majesty Mohammed VI. The symposium will herald a new dawn, a new page in the development of African football.
CAF President Ahmad, the new CAF president was elected on March 16, 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The event has drawn renowned technical brains with good knowledge and experience of African football such as Claude Le Roy, Florent Ibenge, Herve Renard amongst others.
Top decorated former footballers in African football like Rabah Madjer, Ahmed Faras, Austin “Jay-Jay” Okocha, Badou Zaki, Anthony Baffoe, Mohammed Timoumi, Hossam Hassan, Patrick Mboma, as well as Club leaders such as Roger Ouegnin, president of Ivorian giants, ASEC Mimosas, and Irvin Khoza of South African club, Orlando Pirates, will take part in the event.
Not less than eight workshops will be held after the opening plenary session at the Palais des Congrès in Skhirat, a suburb of Rabat, to be graced by invited prominent personalities.
The workshops will feature topics such as:
1- Africa Cup of Nations: Competition and Specifications
2- Interclub Competition
3- Football Development
4- Youth Football.
5- International partnerships
6- Communication and Media
7- Marketing and TV
8- Players: role and perspectives.