Giresse: FIFA development projects key to Africa

PERFORMANCE seminar held in Senegal

The future of Senegalese football was at the core of the first-ever organisational review implemented in Senegal within the scope of PERFORMANCE, the football management programme of FIFA, that concluded on Sunday, 1 December 2013, in Dakar.

“Only a couple of weeks after our bitter defeat to Cote d’Ivoire in the World Cup play-offs, Performance gives us the opportunity to see where we stand and redefine our strategic objectives," FSF President Augustin Senghor said. "It’s of outmost importance to identify the best possible tools to fully achieve our potential particularly in the area of grassroots."

During the six-day mission a delegation undertook a thorough analysis of all structures of the Senegalese Football Federation and its key external stakeholders, including government, sponsors and broadcasters.

“Through my work in Gabon, Mali and now in Senegal I have noticed that while Africa keeps on producing an impressive amount of talented players, there are still key deficits in terms of infrastructure and administration," Senegal's national team coach Alain Giresse said, who provided FIFA's delegation with an insight into the work of the Lions of Teranga. "Hence, FIFA’s development activities in Africa are fundamental towards the creation of the ideal setting in which to develop African talents."

“If it would be only a matter of talent, an African team could win the 2014 World Cup. What we need to do is to couple talent with sound infrastructure and administration.”

By the end of 2013, Performance has already been implemented in 155 member associations, including 38 in Africa, with the objective of enabling them to further improve the general quality of their management through the delivery of specific solutions and services. USD 35 million are set to be invested by FIFA in the Performance programme during the financial cycle of 2011 to 2014. Overall a total of nearly USD 6 million have been invested by FIFA in Senegal since 1999 through the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP), four Goal projects and 11 technical courses. FIFA’s overall investment in football development in Africa between 1999 and 2013 amounts to USD 426,517,856.

 “Senegal is a country of sports, though we need to create better synergies with all key marketing and communication stakeholders in order to align them behind our project and repeat the phenomenon of 2002 when our national team’s extraordinary performance at the World Cup generated a strong cohesion in Senegal’s football,” added FSF Secretary General Victor Cisse.

Key areas in which FSF is set to focus in the coming years following the Performance assessment include the restructuring of the organisational chart and the creation of synergies with external stakeholders, the enhancement of communication and marketing services, and the reorganisation of the technical direction structure including the annual planning of development courses.

On top of the consolidation of the Senegalese professional league founded in 2009, FSF has identified women’s football as a key priority. Eleven years after the setting-up of the women’s national team and with Senegal’s ten-team women’s national league gaining popularity, an ambitious objective has emerged in the horizon: the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.

“Even though women’s football is still a new discipline in our country that still has to deal with prejudices, we have been able to set-up both a first and a second division league that are providing us with some very talented players," women's national team coach Bassouare Diaby said. "The fact that for the first time three African teams will qualify for the Women’s World Cup, gives us a good chance. I do believe that the World Cup qualification would have a major impact on our country."

“But again we need to improve our work at grassroots level, including a more decided strategy to promote women’s football at schools. Performance has been a key step in the right direction.”

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