The first professionalisation seminar organised with General Secretaries, Technical Directors and CAF Education Officers kicked off successfully on Monday 27 April in Douala, Cameroon, with speeches held by FECAFOOT President Mohamed Iya, CAF Technical Director Abdel Moneim Hussein, FIFA Member Associations and Development Director Thierry Regenass and Mr Blaise Ombgwa, the representative of the Minister for Sports and Physical Education.
A large number from TV, radio and press were present to report about this important event for the central African region. All of the speakers highlighted the knowledge to be taken from this seminar and encouraged the participants to use the next few days to exchange experiences and exploit the existing knowledge to leave Douala much richer and to bring back the lessons to their countries. In a video message, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke encouraged the participants to not hesitate to contact him and his administration for assistance and/or discussion, a philosophy reiterated by FIFA Member Associations and Development Director Thierry Regenass.
After a break and the official picture, presentations were given to a very focused assembly on the Goal and Win in Africa with Africa programmes, the new FIFA initiatives and the new FAP Regulations. The participants were informed about the assistance offered to them and about how to benefit from the resources FIFA puts at their disposition. FIFA instructor and grassroots expert Belhassen Malouche presented the grassroots concept that focuses on the development of football among the youth. Jacques Malié, an instructor from Mauritius, presented a report on club management. FIFA and CAF representatives insisted on the importance of having a Technical Director position within each Member Association, working in close cooperation with the General Secretary. The position and responsibilities of the Education Officers introduced by CAF in the Member Associations was highlighted as well.
After lunch, the Technical Directors, Education officers and the General Secretaries split in working groups, which will continue tomorrow before they report within their groups on their conclusions. The technicians worked on grassroots programmes whereas the administrators were instructed more deeply on the professionalisation of their association. The day's discussions came to a close when it was time to leave to the Stade de la Reunification in Douala, which has an artificial turf that was financed by FIFA within the Win in Africa with Africa programme and inaugurated several months ago.
The seminar will end on 29 April with conclusions and the exchange of experience and views on how to structure their respective associations in order to work better together, starting with an efficient task description of each position and on how FIFA and CAF can assist them in this matter.