As part of a programme run by the AFP Foundation and financed by FIFA, some 270 African sports journalists, editors and photographers attended a training programme which concluded on 5 May 2010.
"We trained 270 editors and photographers from 48 different African countries," explained Robert Holloway, director of the AFP Foundation, in Dakar where the final session was held. "60 one-week sessions were held throughout the year in French, English, Portuguese and Arabic, and the overall results were very positive," he added after the award ceremony which was held in the Senegalese capital.
The training was carried out by AFP journalists and was part of the "Win in Africa with Africa" development programme launched by FIFA once South Africa had been designated as host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The aim of the programme is to teach African journalists the main techniques of covering a high-ranking sporting event.
"We were there to impart the minimum required in terms of sporting culture to make sure a tournament like the World Cup will be covered in a satisfactory way," explained Marc-Antoine Beaudoux, who was one of trainers. "We needed to underline each of the various tasks which these journalists will have to carry out if they are to provide good coverage."
The first sessions focused on knowledge of football's top stars, the Laws of the Game as well as the history of the sport in general and the FIFA World Cup in particular. The second part then concentrated on different journalistic techniques, how to cover an important football match and also how to prepare every aspect of an interview.
Almost 170 African journalists took part in the opening phase of the programme which was held last year in eight capital cities around the continent. The second phase, which began in March, took place in Dakar, Nairobi (Kenya) and Rabat (Morocco).
Holloway has also announced that the AFP Foundation will be working with the African Women Sports Reporters Union (UFRESA) in the near future, and will also fund four plane tickets for journalists who have already received their accreditation to work on South Africa 2010.
"The training helped me a lot," said Jean Calvin Zo Obo Ovono, a journalist from Cameroon. "I picked up all the techniques I need to cover footballing events better." "It was a real help – I improved my technique and my shots," added Algerian photographer Fadela Ouamrane.
The AFP Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation created by Agence France Presse in July 2007, and which has carried out training projects in Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans.