The President of the Football Federation of Burkina Faso (FBF), Sita Sangare, paid a visit to the Home of FIFA on Tuesday 3 July. After meeting with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, Sangare spoke exclusively to FIFA.com, outlining his long-term objectives, as well as the means he plans to use in order to achieve them.
Since his election on 10 March 2012, the former head of the football arm of Ouagadougou-based sports club USFA has focused on numerous areas of improvement, such as youth development and strengthening the national league, with the eventual goal of improving the national team’s future performances at major tournaments.
Sita Sangare, as the new President of the FBF, could you tell us what your principal objective will be?
I was elected just after the 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, where our country’s performance left a lot to be desired. It’s important to understand that expectations were quite high back home because of the fine squad of players we had. Being knocked out early on was a bit of a drama in Burkina Faso. My objective, therefore, is to build, as quickly as possible, a competitive national side.
Is that the only objective?
Of course not, no. We’ve not lost sight of the main aim of any football federation, which is to work on football development. We need to work at grassroots level, developing our young players, and ensuring that new generations keep coming through. We are ready to do all that; we managed to re-organise the way the national team is run very quickly, via the creation of a National Technical Training Centre.
Are there other ways in which you can make progress?
Yes, we’re aware of how important it is to have a strong domestic league, which is why we’ve recently relaunched it, and everything’s been going well up to now. In addition, the new National Technical Director is due to draw up a development policy. On that topic, a FIFA team was in Ouagadougou for a PERFORMANCE course recently, and we discussed the possibility of an U-15 and an U-17 league starting up from season 2012/13 onwards. It’s very important, because without that breeding ground, we’ll never have a national team capable of competing over the long term.
What kind of problems does the FBF encounter?
We had some organisational problems, which we’re trying to gradually sort out. But there’s also the perpetual issue of a lack of resources. No matter how willing you are, it’s difficult to make progress without the appropriate funds. We’ve been exploring possible solutions with FIFA; we’re looking for sources of funding, and that’s why we’re going to appoint someone with financial duties, as well as a head of communication, who’ll be charged with bringing in sponsors and promoting football better in Burkina Faso.
Why do you think that Burkinabe football did not reap the benefits from the excellent performances put in by the 2001 U-17 team and the 2003 U-20 team?
The success of those two sides, which did so well at the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, stemmed from youth academies. Some of them, such as Saidou Panandetiguiri and Daouda Diakite, are even involved in the senior set-up today. But this approach was not really maintained, and on top of that, there weren’t any leagues for the various youth categories. That’s something we want to rectify straight away. We need our existing youth academies to take part in these leagues and to be linked to our clubs.
Do you still think you have a chance of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™?
Burkina Faso have never made it to the final stages of a FIFA World Cup. It’s something we sincerely hope to achieve. What a great advert it would be for our game and for our country. But we have to be realistic – the immediate goal is to first book our ticket for the next Cup of Nations. We’ve regularly qualified for that event over the years, and I’m sure our supporters would find it hard to back us if we didn’t give 100 per cent in our attempts to get there. That said, if we do qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we’re not going to say no!