Sene Diacounda, AIPS Young Reporter, Senegal
DAKAR, January 8, 2018 – Before celebration, CAF Awards is all about African football development, an issue that African football legends have decided to deal with during a press conference held on Sunday in Dakar. During the meeting with journalists, Samuel Eto’o and a group of former football players from different countries highlighted the problems that hinder the development of African football.
“We must first fight against corruption and bad governance in our football to allow football players to live decently,” Eto’o emphasised. “Africa have a delay in lot of things due to corruption and bad governance,” the former Cameroon captain added.
Other legends at the press conference were Habib Beye and El Hadji Diouf from Senegal, Nwankwo Kanu from Nigeria, South Africa’s Mark Anthony Fish and Ghana’s Anthony Baffoe. They have all made the trip to Dakar to attend the CAF Awards ceremony which will designate the best football player of the year among Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) and Sadio Mané (Senegal).
Samuel Eto’o also noted a lack of consideration towards the football players by the national federations. “Despite the talent they have African players are not in good conditions because the leaders of federation don’t respect our work,” he regretted. “In these conditions how can African football be developed?” he wondered.
As solution to these problems, Eto’o pleaded that the money in football should be used appropriately. “We all know that FIFA or CAF provides lots of money to the federations. Then, this money must be used to build infrastructures and develop our profession,” Eto’o said.
On his part, Nwankwo Kanu called on legends to play their part for the development of African football. “CAF can’t do everything. We have to put our efforts together. When the family is united, they can do things.”
The diagnosis of African football done, the legends of football were back on the pitch to play against Senegal’s 2002 national team. The match was a tribute to Jules François Bocandé.
Legends of African football intend to continue this initiative in the coming years. As they look to pay tribute to Rashidi Yekini, Stephen Keshi and Laurent Pokau “with great joy and pride” according to former Ghanaian Black Star, Anthony Baffoe.