21 July 2017 02:50
Representatives of governments and the diplomatic Corps,
Members of the FIFA Council,
Members of the CAF Executive Committee,
Executives and collaborators of FIFA and UEFA,
Presidents and Secretaries General of African National Football Associations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Representatives of the Referees, representatives of Sports Medicine,
Distinguished guests of CAF,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Here we are at the threshold of a historical moment, a rare experience of the great African football family.
We are gathered here at an extraordinary congress in Rabat, after having lived some unforgettable days during which we made an inventory of everything that is done in the CAF, everything that is done in our football and in our competitions.
I would like to thank all those who made this formidable adventure possible.
Moroccan authorities of the highest order, led by
- His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco,
-Members of the Moroccan government,
-The President of FIFA,
-Madame Fatma Samoura
- Representatives of related and friendly confederations,
- The Royal Moroccan Federation and its President, Fouzi Lekjaa,
- CAF Executive Committee members,
- The local organising committee and all the honourable guests, not forgetting the CAF Secretariat.
I would like, on behalf of you all, to express particular tribute to our Vice President of CAF, my colleague and friend Kwesi, who presides over the Committee on Reforms and Statutes, for the extraordinary job his team has done to make our statutes conform with the new management.
I seize this opportunity to also hail FIFA's fruitful contribution to this foundational work, and the fact that it put a specialist at our disposal.
It is this refined work, done by the Committee on Reforms and Statutes, that has brought us to this Congress today.
A Congress, ladies and gentlemen, which is promising, and which would make us to progress with the implementation of new rules of work and management.
Works that will forever mark our history.
That will be a marker of our desire to change things, that will definitely impact the future of football on our continent.
This project was initiated by me.
I intended to have you all express yourselves; let there be totally frank and sincere talks, let everything be said and let us leave from here satisfied of what we did, happy with our involvement, happy of our determination.
We should leave Morocco convinced by our novel ideas, confident of our strategic choices, assured by the force of our decisions.
The results of our works are greater that all our expectations.
Thanks to you, thanks to your observations, your critics, your propositions, we would give a sense of direction to these changes that you have implored with all your strength.
Together we will birth a new CAF, totally free, completely liberated from its plights.
A CAF that is henceforth focused on great projects, and toward fundamental reforms that will transform it and make of it a huge glass palace, initiating effective actions,
- for our national associations,
- for our youths,
- for our competitions,
- for its international radiance.
The symposium, which commenced its working sessions, is already crowned with success.
It will remain in the annals of our history that it hosted an impressive number of actors of our football, Presidents of Clubs, Secretaries General of our federations, national coaches, star players of yesterday and today, and was conducted in honest and fully responsible discussions.
Like me, you were all impatient
- to change course,
- impatient to start a new era,
- impatient to cast the time of failures and discouragements behind us.
• We would have to take some hard decisions
• We would have to engage some difficult measures
• We would have the awesome responsibility to fundamentally change the structure of CAF,
• put in place a new organigram,
• nominate new officials, and make it such that our central administration would be,
- respectful of new procedures,
- ready to take up and implement our programmes, our projects, and of course, the smooth running of all our competitions.
As concerns our competitions, you know it: my programme planned for profound reforms.
Here in Rabat you have adhered to this desire to step up the most beautiful of all competitions, the African Cup of Nations, the famous AFCON, which has been existing since 1957 and which has gone through numerous fundamental transformations.
- Moving from 3 to 8 teams,
- then to 12,
- then to 16 today, without however giving the chance to a lot other countries that dream of it.
You have proposed that it should henceforth be opened to 24 countries, that it should run from January to June, that it should present an all new look
- in the like of global football,
- more exposed,
- more radiant,
- and organised under best conditions.
My dear colleagues, my dear friends,
These historic propositions retained by the Symposium, and strongly encouraged and supported by our Executive Committee, meeting here yesterday, are now in your hands.
I appeal to your sense of responsibility, to your strong desire to bring about real change, to your support and your involvement in these reforms of capital importance.
Do not be influenced by past speeches, which always want to take us backwards to shadows and stalemate.
Let us be masters of our more appealing initiatives, let us be exemplary in the eyes of the entire world by showing our ability in effecting historic changes.
As concerns the development of football
Like I said, you have opened a golden door to the youth.
You have lengthily debated on operational models of advancing,
- and structurally.
I urge you to follow the recommendations of the best of our technicians who have settled on a charter of new actions.
I declare today, that along with our colleagues and friends of the UEFA, we will develop a specific programme for young footballers in Africa.
On a totally different subject, I wanted to state that television, communication and the media, will equally occupy an important position in the transformation of CAF.
Images of our football should be accessible to the greatest number of people; the production of our competitions should meet a new job reference modelled on international standards.
I equally express vibrant encouragement to our Marketing partners who remained faithful, and tell them that we will be attentive to them.
New sponsors will have to be prospected to reinforce all the potentials of football and guarantee new resources.
Finally, I am convinced that with the development of new technologies, digital technology is susceptible of providing us with new revenues.
My dear colleagues, my dear friends,
In this extensive project of change, I need you every step of the way.
Your support and your involvement, are indispensable to realize this new management.
I will ensure that the obligations of one another are respected and I will regularly give instructions such that all that was decided here is realized to the benefit of everyone.
I agree with you on these new goals that you fixed during the debates.
I commit myself before you today to take on all these reforms with determination and conviction.
But your adherence to these new principles is fundamental.
The changes decided upon, would turn our habits around and cast out theories of failure.
And they will take us, I am convinced, toward new,
- more spectacular and
- more popular achievements than before.
This congress is constitutional and will definitively remain historic.
Long live the African Continent
Long live African football
Long live CAF