By Dipo Olowookere
Next month, Africa’s premier football business event, the Football Africa Forum will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Organisers say the Forum will be a non-aligned gathering with the key objective to come up with the most workable strategies on how to make the continent a force to be reckoned with on the global stage both on and off the field of play.
The agenda will be determined by the delegates submitting their points for discussion prior to Forum to ensure that it does not become another “talk shop”.
The Forum will also adopt the “African Football Development Charter”, which will promote broader commitment of people involved in the sport across the continent.
According to Gerrit Davids, CEO of Gerom Media (GeromMedia.co.za), organisers of the Forum, “the main reason for hosting the event, is for the custodians of African football to start realising that it is in danger of been overtaken by the development and growth of the game in Asia with some experts countering Pele’s statement, when he said that, ‘soon an African country will win the FIFA World Cup’.” With the investment made in Asian football, others are of the view that it looks more likely that a country from that region would win it before Africa does.
The Forum’s objective is to create a platform for interest groups to debate challenges, which are specific and relative to Africa.
It will also launch the Africa-European Football Partnership (AEFA) project wherein clubs, academies; leagues and FA’s from Europe will be encouraged to adopt accredited academies in Africa with the “objective to bring a balance between football development on the continent and the high levels of talented youth leaving for greener pastures in Europe”.
In February 2016, Gerom Media facilitated the successful launch of the first ever association for football agents on the continent when it hosted the African Football Intermediaries Association (AFIA) Forum, which was addressed by Mel Stein, Chairman of the Association of Football Agents (UK). AFIA will also host its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Forum.
The Forum will also host the Elite Coaches Seminar allowing the continent’s best coaching minds to debate the future trends of managing teams as well as their role to advance the technical ability of African players and the competitiveness of our teams on the international stage.
The Football Player Exchange for agents and clubs debating on how as a collective they could ensure the welfare the football players will also be a key feature of the Forum. An Agent’s Poster Board will also be displayed featuring players on their rosters and one on one meetings with clubs will also be arranged wherein players could show video clips of their players to prospective clubs.
Africa’s first ever continental Football Africa Awards will also be held during the Forum with more than 30 awards to be handed out to the best performing national teams, leagues, clubs, coaches and sponsors on the continent.
According to Davids, the Forum will also have a distinctive feature with international service and product providers showcasing their offerings by means of “table top” presentations, a format which is successfully used at tourism exhibitions. Exhibitors will be matched with clubs, leagues, etc. to expand their market into Africa.
Conference themes include International Football Trends and Africa’s Response; Managing Sustainable Football Leagues; Club Football Strategies for Success; The Club vs. Country Debate; Building Tomorrow’s Football Academies; Player Welfare and the Role of Commercial Agency; and Sponsorship and Marketing Strategies: What are the Lessons.
Others are Coaching For Success: Panel Discussion with Elite Coaches; Engaging the Digitally Connected Fan; and The Role of Broadcasters in building African Football.
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