The Sudanese capital Khartoum has just played host to the FUTURO III Administration and Management Course. One of the cornerstones of the FIFA development programme, the course is aimed at training professional managers in administration and management within FIFA's member associations. Held from 19 to 25 September, the course was attended by nineteen participants from eight North and West African countries and Palestine.

In addition to Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Palestine, Sudan and Tunisia, the course saw the first involvement of Comoros, a new member of the FIFA family affiliated at the Congress in Marrakesh a few days previously.

The two Comoran participants were the main focus of the Sudanese journalists, not merely because it was Comoros' very first involvement in a FIFA activity, but also because the Southern African islands supplied the course's only female participant. In a further step towards the development of women's football on the African continent that FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter is keen to promote, Maryiatta Abdou Chacour found herself representing both her Comoran homeland and football's fairer sex as a whole. 

A star in the classroom… and on the dance floor!
Not content with being the sole female amongst 18 men, Maryatta emerged as one of the brightest participants in this high-level course. Among the most active during the discussions and activities, she was undeniably the star student. And to truly cement her popularity within the group, Maryiatta demonstrated her talents as a dancer during the evening of folk music organised by the Sudanese Football Association. None of the other participants could hold a candle to the Comoran on the dance floor.

The opening and closing ceremonies were held at the Sudanese Technical Football Academy (ATSF), one of the chefs d'œuvre of the FIFA Goal programme in the North and West African region. Officially unveiled last July by the FIFA President and Mohammed Bin Hammam, President of the Asian Football Confederation, this superb structure hosted the Futuro III course as its inaugural event. The course sessions themselves were held at Khartoum's Hôtel du Palais, where the participants were staying.

The efforts deployed by the ASF and the FIFA Development Bureau in Cairo bore abundant fruit and left a very positive impression on the participants and organisers. "I would like to thank the participants for their great objectivity, their enthusiasm, their flexibility and their fruitful contribution," declared Ismael Locate, one of the two FIFA instructors. "This course has been one of the most successful I've known in my career as an instructor."

Jürg Nepfer (Switzerland), FIFA's head of Course Programmes, and the two instructors Ismaël Locate (La Réunion) and Siegfried Honga (Cameroon) coordinated the theoretical training sessions while encouraging interactivity. A dozen debates and discussions gave the participants the opportunity to forge links, exchange experiences and share their knowledge of the different topics covered. From the structure and organisation of member associations and their financial control, by way of planning and the management of clubs and events to communication and marketing, no stone was left unturned. 

Learn and pass on
"I'm of course hoping that, rather than keeping things to themselves, the participants will transmit what they have learned here to administrators in their countries, thereby respecting the FIFA principle of observation, apprenticeship and knowledge-sharing. They have a big responsibility for the promotion of management and administration in each of their countries," Locate commented.

Another strong point of the course was the involvement of specialists in the fields of sports medicine, refereeing and training. Salah Ahmad Mohamad Saleh, General Secretary of the ASF Referees Committee, Mohamed Abdallah Ahmad "Mazda", a former player for the Sudanese Al-Marrikh club who is now a CAF instructor and coach of the Sudanese national team, and Dr. Zuhair Makki, a Professor in Sports Medicine on the Sudanese Olympic Committee, all took charge of sessions in order to give the participants the benefit of their experience. Before them, Dr. Taha Ismaïl, Head of the Development Bureau in Cairo, led a session on FIFA's Financial Assistance and the role of the Development bureaux.

In time off from the course, the FIFA representatives and the participants visited the SOS Children's Village in Khartoum, where they were treated to a show of Sudanese songs and sports workshops organised by the village's management. During his speech, the representative of the SOS village, Ali Mahdi, announced that the player Hayssam Moustafa, a midfielder with Sudan's Al-Hilal club, had become the village's ambassador on 25 September 2005.

In his closing speech in front of the massed ranks of photographers and local and foreign TV channels, Locate chose to deliver a message for the future: "I am expecting to see some of this course's participants become top instructors in the near future. They certainly all have what it takes and I am sure they will achieve this."