Football has exhausted all its chances

The amount spent is colossal. The ‘grants’ granted to the clubs respectively of the Super League, the 1st and the 2nd division, amount to… Rs 71.1 million over the last four years. To this will be added Rs 15 million additional ‘earmarked’ for the next campaign. Besides, the Mauritius Football Association (MFA) benefited, between the season 2017/18 and 2019/20, from a total budget of Rs 21,907,394. This information was provided by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, of Sports and Leisure, Stephan Toussaint, at the National Assembly last week.

Rs 93 million therefore in four years. Rs 108 if we count the Rs 15 million that will be offered to clubs soon. If all these millions had contributed to advancing even a tiny bit our football, they would have been justified. But there, notwithstanding the enormous investment, we end up with … two successive unfinished seasons, a mediocre performance at the 2019 Indian Ocean Islands Games, held in addition on our soil, clubs and non-competitive national selections in the continental tournaments and a 48th place (out of 54 countries) on the African table, according to the latest FIFA ranking. And it’s not over ; we have an MFA with a shameful administration! Is it this similarity with the government of which he is a part that explains the assistance, even if it is sometimes tacit, from Toussaint to the organization of Trianon? Perhaps !

We love football and we would also have liked to see his resurrection. But the fact is that this wish, despite the passing years, does not come true. In the meantime, by prolonging the support for football again and again, we penalize other disciplines and athletes with high potential. For example, if the Mauritius Boxing Association (AMB) had benefited from even a third of the total sum devoted to football during the last four years, it is possible to think that our boxers would have been entitled to a better preparation and would have gone further in their Olympic adventure.

In the name of football, young talents are thus sacrificed. Like the judoka Winsley Gungaya. Considered by observers to be one of the best fighters that Mauritius has known – given the skills he has at only 18 years old – Winsley Gungay unfortunately very rarely competes. Lack of budget. However, he should have already found himself on the continental and world circuit. This would have helped his development and place him among the best in the world in his category. But, the decision-makers preferred to bet on football, the bad horse! What a pity ! Should we be surprised when judoka, tomorrow, will fail in the first round of a tournament, if he does not completely drop judo beforehand? We can cite several who, like Winsley Gungaya, are the collateral victims of all this fruitless investment in football.

Moreover, shame on Minister Toussaint who had, at first, refused to pay the quarantine costs of four shooters who made our quadricolor float high in Austria during the World Cup assault on French boxing savate. This injustice had to be shown to the public for it to reverse its decision.

At a certain point, we should perhaps say to ourselves that we have already given our football every chance. And that we must now concentrate elsewhere, where we really have skills …

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