AFCON 2025, A FINAL FOR MACKY SALL
The decision of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to withdraw the organization of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2025 from Guinea can and must be seized by Senegal, which has a great opportunity to achieve a shot several goals of its emergence project if it makes Qatar a strategic partner for the realization of its projects with structuring effects on the territory and for Senegal 2025.
The decision fell, surprising no one in truth, as everything indicated that the mass was said and that the South African Patrice Motsepe, president of the confederal body was only waiting for a Guinean fault to rectify the situation. Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, strong man of Guinea will give him the opportunity by refusing outright to postpone the CAN in 2026. Too bad for Guinea, good for the next organizer and certainly more for Senegal, if he decides to enter the dance by combining CAN 2025 with its emergence projects which can effectively be boosted and, consequently, accelerate the development process.
From our point of view, there is no shortage of opportunities and the means to strike a blow. But to do this, Senegal will have to provide diplomatic support to Qatar, which is currently going through a bad international patch. In return, Qatar would support Senegal in the organization of CAN 2025 as well as its emergence projects. For us, this is a political wink that would further strengthen bilateral cooperation and even make Senegal a bridgehead for Qatar in Africa.
Support Qatar and its World Cup
Openly supporting Qatar at a time when former footballers and Western authorized voices are calling for a boycott of the 22nd edition in Qatar would be very much appreciated in Qatar for the benefit of Senegal. Wouldn’t it be impertinent to push the reflection further!
Taken to task by strongholds of football who find that FIFA has posed a « problem of conscience to its enthusiasts » who will have to follow for the first time in the history of the World Cup a tournament played in November and December ( 18/11 to 20/12) “in order to escape the extreme summer temperatures of the Emirate”, Qatar, a country “without a footballing tradition” which has seen a rain of international legal proceedings fall on it for… corruption, is d all the more pointed out that the macabre assessment of the construction sites speaks of 1000 deaths for the construction of seven new air-conditioned stadiums of 40,000 and 80,000 places “in an agglomeration of 800,000 souls”. Stadiums, some of which can be dismantled and that many fear to see empty at the Qatari World Cup.
Lonely, Qatar awaits the support of « friendly countries » including Senegal who will be on their land to precisely play the World Cup in group A with the Netherlands, Ecuador and the host country. It remains to be seen how Senegal will be able to show its support and what will be the materialization. This is a matter of interest that requires a strong position internationally, with of course advantages and disadvantages. But you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Faced with the totem of boycott expressed by many places, Senegal must express its solidarity with Qatar.
The benefits are on several levels. From removable stadiums to finance and the erection of new growth poles. It is neither the opportunities that are lacking nor the answers to the demands.
Take advantage of removable stadiums
Building 7 new stadiums, some of which can be dismantled, in a country of 11,586 km² with a population of barely 2,450,000 inhabitants who do not have a footballing tradition as is claimed almost everywhere, is a godsend for all those who will read between the lines the marvelous offer of this rich country. It is not tomorrow the day before that these stadiums will be filled every Friday in Qatar and it is also not impossible that they were only built as part of a sequential communication from the Emirate.
Unless their construction opens new perspectives to the world close to Qatari values, even to Islam. Which would mean that Qatar would prepare for the post-oil era by projecting itself into a high-end sporting and tourist prospect. But such might not be the case, and that is to be known.
Benefiting from removable Qatari stadiums would be much faster than building them, for example in Saint-Louis, the next destination for several oil specialists, bankers, insurers, workers and other entrepreneurs, or even Kaolack (the first region to have hosted an international match in 1975), center of the country awaiting the completion of the toll motorway, or even Ziguinchor and its tourist promises. This North-Centre-South axis constituting the backbone of Senegalese football is also the cornerstone of an axial development with great national yield. Insofar as these stadiums are not the only objects of Senegalese demand in Qatar. They integrate a global project ranging from the organization of CAN 2025 to accelerated emergence.
CAN 2025 highways, hotels, air bridges and hospitals
Installing CAN 2025 groups in Saint-Louis, Kaolack and Ziguinchor means accelerating, with the support of Qatar, the construction of road infrastructure (Dakar-Saint-Louis, Dakar-Kaolack), increasing toll revenues, increase the tax base and public investment. In addition to the CAN 2025 highways, the air corridors can be taken advantage of by AIR SENEGAL within the framework of a partnership with QATAR AIRWAYS for the destination of Ziguinchor, or even beyond (Qatar Airways serves 160 destinations in the world with Doha as a hub, the western African tip would be a real opportunity). The air partnership is all the more interesting in that it would serve the sub-region at competitive prices and would ensure faster access to the incoming hotels on which Qatar, or even the Turks, is also expected, within the framework of the construction of 3 or 4 star hotels with a potential of 500 beds per city unit, i.e. in two years the creation of 2000 beds for Senegalese tourism.
The organization of CAN 2025 with such road, airport and hotel infrastructure would offer Senegal a great welcome and visit card even though it would be up to the local creative genius of the three regions to offer beautifully crafted cultural content, popular with African and even international demand.
In addition to these infrastructures, there are hospital ones in Saint-Louis, Kaolack and Ziguinchor. As with previous achievements, the Qatari partner is expected to finance these stage 3 or even 4 hospitals. The construction or redevelopment of medical platforms in these three regions will have an immediate impact and will eventually constitute offers for regional medical tourism.
Finally, make Dakar an international metropolis
Benefiting from high-flying road, rail and sports infrastructure, sanitary facilities, emergency units, hotel receptionists, etc., Dakar, like the other regions, could take advantage of CAN 2025 to carry out the orientations contained in the National Planning and Territorial Development Plan (PNAD, horizon 2035) to finally establish itself as an international metropolis.
The process would be accelerated to the great benefit of Pikine, for which a Special Planning and Development Plan has been drawn up. It should be recalled that President Macky Sall had instructed the Minister in charge of Local Authorities, on March 9, 2022 during the Council of Ministers, to propose to him as soon as possible the said plan for the department of Pikine.
The same can be said for Keur Massar, the last department erected to date, and for the Emergency Plan for the Modernization of the Dakar-Plateau District (PUMA/DP). Guédiawaye and its beautiful beach will not be outdone, as will the Central Business District (CBD) of Dakar, which there is talk of moving to relieve congestion in the capital. This will go through the essential urban functionality, that is to say the TER and BRT transport infrastructures in the process of materialization, but also security and emergency units (police stations and fire stations).
In other words, it will be a question of reinforcing the attractiveness of the Triangle Dakar-Thiès-Mbour of which one of the major territorial resources (created) is the international airport Blaise Diagne of Diass.
The same model will be reproduced in the short term in Saint-Louis, Kaolack, Ziguinchor before generalizing in regions and cities with high human density, social demand and therefore economic supply. Finally, Qatar can also be expected to provide financial support consisting of support for emergence.
States have no friends but only interests, it is up to us to defend ours for the benefit of our development.