Only 20 days until the kick-off of the TotalEnergies CAF Women's Champions League scheduled for November 5-19, 2021 in Cairo, Egypt. On this occasion, CAFOnline.com spoke with the President of the Organizing Committee of Women's Football.
Kanizat Ibrahim, also Fifth Vice-President of CAF, discussed the opportunities offered by this historic eight-team tournament and presented her work at the head of the Organizing Committee.
CAFOnline.com: Your career embraces the challenges of the feminization of football. Tell us about your symbolic journey in the Comoros and within CAF.
Kanizat Ibrahim: I am an entrepreneur, and I started in football in 2019 when I was chosen by FIFA as chairperson of the standardization committee of the Comoros Football Federation. My mission lasted 15 months. CAF was to prepare for its elections in March 2021, I knew at that time that the female position was vacant and as I like challenges, I therefore took my chance by submitting my candidacy. My file was validated by CAF and I started the race. I was elected to CAF on March 12 and promoted to fifth vice-president on March 13. It was a pleasant surprise, especially since it was the first time that a woman had reached such a degree of responsibility. It is a real gender promotion within an environment which wants to be very masculine.
What is the feeling that drives you 20 days before the kick-off of this exceptional event called the Women's Champions League?
It is a real pleasure to have to oversee such an important event. For this first edition in women's football, I can only be proud. We are going to write together a new page in the history of women's football and I take the opportunity to congratulate all the teams that have participated in this first edition and hope that others will come to participate in the following editions.
The Women's Champions League is a showcase for women's football. What are the challenges of its media coverage?
It is an event that marks the history of women's football, it represents a window of hope for women around the world and anything is possible when the will is there. Having a Women's Champions League will make younger people want to take up the challenges and dream of one day being able to participate. Women can also be in the foreground with a technical performance comparable to that of men.
You have closely followed the zonal qualifiers of the competition, what are your expectations and projections for the final tournament?
The desire for performance and motivation should not exclude fair play. I am convinced that the organization will be at the same level as that of similar men's competitions.
The strategy that has been developed by CAF aims to develop women's football in the short and long term. What are the means at the Committee's disposal to move things forward?
The same conditions which have enabled men to progress must be made available to women. We cannot talk about the development of women's football without talking about infrastructure, training, fundraising and management strategy to support this development. It goes without saying that if women's football is well structured, the sponsors will only be able to support it. Women's football is the future of the sport on a global level.
What current or future projects is the Committee looking at?
We should be able to make women's football attractive. This can be done by helping Member Associations to have more women in different technical and administrative positions, to have more licensees, but it can also be done by encouraging girls to play football from an early age, especially in primary school. It is also to be able to provide the necessary tools and resources to support member associations in structuring women's football clubs, the aim being to achieve the professionalism of women's football in Africa.