CAF and continental football governance

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CAN: CAF and the governance of continental football

The CAN is, obviously, the major sporting event and certainly the most popular on the African continent. A fair of this magnitude is a real organizational challenge. A challenge which, to be tackled in the right way, requires consistent means. First, large financial investments are needed to guarantee logistics (standard stadiums, comfortable hotels for hosting delegations, adequate security, etc.). It also requires immaterial investments starting from the good organization and management of the event. The key to success lies in the combination of sports management and event management.

What about this CAN 2022? The question that arises today is whether Fécafoot has succeeded in organizing this CAN 2022? If it is premature to draw up a definitive balance sheet and to evaluate the degree of success, we can all the same point out the obvious facts which hitherto have marred the organization. We have seen matches being played in certain stadiums for which there is much to complain about in terms of the quality of the infrastructure. It’s hard to see good football with lawns that look like cabbage fields in the dry season. It is difficult not to be moved when we have seen « epic » facts in terms of the referee’s decision. The anti-covid health protocol raises doubts about the way it is managed. There are already suspicions about the controls and their reliability. Furthermore, the marketing of the event seems to be confined to a regional level, the media coverage is marginal. If it wasn’t for the galaxy of social media kicking off the games, it would have been hard to follow. And there, we should ask ourselves why we cannot sell this meeting of African football to the world? Is the product not good or is it the marketing strategy that is non-existent? Certainly, the problem transcends football. It is in the caricatural representation, the prejudices and the negative perception of the things of the « cursed continent ». The Africa of renewal is still waiting.

To stay in the argument of the CAN, it must be said that on the dock there is the CAF. It is the supreme body that has primary responsibility for the governance of African football. Yes, the problems we have already seen are primarily attributable to the leaders of CAF. Even if, in some respects, Fécafoot will have had its shortcomings. Logistically, it must be said that some stadiums should never have been suitable for hosting a CAN match. In this regard, the rant of the former Senegalese international Demba Bâ says a lot about this aspect. Demba Bâ is known for his seriousness, his good education, his sense of balance and his patriotic spirit. If he is sorry for him, who is not a loudmouth, it is because he aspires to greater respect for this competition.

The supreme body of African football will have to review the criteria to approve the infrastructures, set rigorous conditions to raise the qualitative standards. In making an affirmation of this kind, I cannot fail to have in mind a man of sport and a worthy son of Africa like Lamine Diack. Yes, CAF needs a Lamine Diack, that is to say strong, honest and visionary leadership to raise African football to the rank it deserves.

Aly Baba Faye

#AFCON2021 #AllezLesLions #special_can_2022

Author: Aly Baba Faye –

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