Seven countries from WAFU B and CAF commit to African youth with Pan-African Schools Football Championship

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Cotonou, Benin, 26 July 2021

To help foster a new generation of African youth, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is developing a football competition to be introduced in schools across the continent. 

The CAF Pan-African Schools Football Championship will be an intercontinental schools soccer tournament for both boys and girls focusing on grassroots growth and development to shape future leaders. 

CAF President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe believes football has the power to change the narrative in the continent with a bottom-up approach. “The best investment we can make to ensure that African football is amongst the best in the world and self-sustaining is to invest in schools and youth football development infrastructure for boys and girls. This is one of my key focus areas as President of CAF,” said Motsepe. 

Taking up this credo, the Motsepe Foundation, a family foundation of the African business tycoon and philanthropist Dr Motsepe, has contributed an amount of $ 10 million to support the Pan-African Schools Football Championship initiative. 

This past week a meeting of heightened importance was held which included notable key leaders and ministers from the West African Football Union (WAFU/ UOFA), representing the seven countries of the region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo) wherein CAF received their significant endorsement of the Schools Football Championship program. 

CAF believes football is an incredible catalyst for change. Not only does the beautiful game unite the world, it can educate, inspire and mobilise our youth to overcome their greatest challenges and become agents of change in their communities. 

As an agent of change in the continent, CAF believes that schools are a vehicle for integration into African Society. CAF General Secretary Véron Mosengo-Omba said, “As our schools prepare our future leaders, a continental tournament will help instil football values like respect, discipline, teamwork and fair play into their hearts and minds.”

Bidding and kick-off dates 

Set to begin in March 2022, the CAF Pan-African Schools Football Championship will start with a bidding process for African countries to host the final phase of the continental tournament.

The tournament will be divided into three levels: It will start with the National School Football Championship to be held in March and August 2022. In this, each CAF Member Association will organise a national competition with its schools football teams. 

It will continue with a Zonal Championship organized by each CAF zone where winners from national tournaments will compete between September and December2022. 

It will end with the third stage; the Pan-African Interschool Championship finals where finalists of the zonal championship will meet: both boys and girls. 

Details of this final stage will be around March/July 2023. 

CAF hopes to generate enthusiasm and emulation among schools across the continent. 

Mosengo-Omba added: “Much like the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, we want to generate an excitement throughout the continent and become a part of something truly momentous. We will host a bidding process and determine the host country like we do in these tournaments. We want it to be something to aspire to and be proud of.” 

By creating a gravity of participation, Mosengo-Omba believes the educational impact of football played at schools will be heightened. “Football not only develops a child’s physical health but promotes a mental and social wellbeing that are vital to growth. We also hope that a pan-African football tournament will promote pan-African friends and keep children away from darker corners of society like criminality and drugs.”

About CAF and commitment to development: 

CAF is the governing body of African football and was founded in 1957. The founding members are Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Africa. With a membership of 54 Member Associations, the secretariat is based in Cairo, Egypt. 

The organisation has always believed in the power of football in African schools. It was in 2018 that CAF launched its very first educational campaign “Learn today, Lead Tomorrow” to raise awareness and support educational institutions in Africa through football. It is in line with the vision that CAF supported Books and Boots, a non-profit social project which combines education and recreation in communities. 

“If you want kids to go to school, put football into schools,” said Veron Mosengo-Omba. “At CAF, we can’t stress enough the importance of education and sports. By putting the two together, we have a recipe for change. We look forward to bringing our young African leaders together through the Pan-African Football Championship.”

CAF | Communication Department