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It was in the air. A partnership between the International Sports Press Association-Africa Section (AIPS/Africa) and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) took its earliest format during a meeting held in the Bassam room of the Sofitel hotel in Abidjan between Veron Mosengo-Omba, Ccaf Secretary General and Abdoulaye Thiam, President of AIPS/Africa.
The meeting which was in the pipeline following the election of the new AIPs Africa executive finally took place in Abidjan on the eve of 2023 Afcon draw to discuss and outline what should lead to a partnership agreement between the two structures.
Appreciating the meeting, the CAF Secretary General congratulated the president of AIPS/Africa for the initiatives taken in the direction of the development of sports journalism in Africa.
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For greater effectiveness, however, Mr. Mosengo-Omba focused on the need to work together. “We are ready to help you because football does not belong to Caf. That is why President Motsepe has decided to work with everyone in a transparent manner. We even talked to the club presidents,” he said.
In addition, Veron Mosengo-Omba encouraged Abdoulaye Thiam to invest more in extinguishing the hotbeds of tension within African national associations. According to him, “Africa does not need this division.”
Returning to the 2023 Afcon, he noted the need to popularise what Côte d’Ivoire has done to succeed in the final phase. “We have a great audience. The CAF is very well managed in compliance with the rules of transparency. There is no such thing as an organization with zero problems. But this AFCON will be the most beautiful ever organised,” predicted the Caf secretary general.”This is President Motsepe’s first Afcon. And here, just for the draw we have more than 2500 journalists. In 2021 in Cameroon, he was elected in June for an Afcon in January-February.
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For his part, Abdoulaye Thiam first thanked the Caf secretary general for his availability despite his busy schedule, especially on the eve of a draw for an Africa Cup of Nations. Addressing what should be the axis of the partnership, the president of AIPS/Africa asked Caf to invest in the training and capacity building of African journalists by African experts.”We have a job where you always have to question yourself and update yourself.
We then ask Caf to support us in the organization of training sessions,” Thiam pleaded, not without highlighting the efforts already made in this direction with the AIPS Young Reporters program. “You mentioned a young reporters project, which we already have. It would be nice if we could bring it all together,” Thiam said. The president of AIPS/Africa added: “We would have liked to see the president of Caf or the secretary general come to take part in the annual congresses of the AIPS to talk about African football like Cerefin (UEFA), Infantino (Fifa) or Bach (IOC). This would enhance our value and generate more interest from our audience in these meetings organised each year by AIPS.”
Finally, President Thiam asked Caf to rely more on African sports journalists to serve as content editors for the Caf website to make football activities visible in their respective countries. This would also help to preserve this noble profession, which is now threatened by external elements.
It was in this context that President Abdoulaye Thiam expressed his team’s desire to organise the African Sports Night every year in a capital of the continent. The idea is to promote excellence and merit in the practice of the profession.
Having taken part in the meeting, Lux September, following Veron Mosengo-Omba, said he had taken note of the ideas shared. “Caf will come back to you to validate what it is capable of doing,” said the head of communications.
The Caf SG was accompanied by members of his staff, including Lux September and his assistant Charlotte Pélagie.
The AIPS/Africa delegation, led by Abdoualye Thiam included Oumar Baba Traore, president of the Association of Sports Journalists of Mali, Vice-President of AIPS/Africa and Mrs. Katty Touré, president of the National Union of the Ivorian Sports Press and of the AIPS/Africa Women’s Commission. Ms. Touré was accompanied by some members of the National Union of Sports press journalists of Côte d’Ivoire.
Secretary General, AIPS Africa
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