AFRICAN schools could soon flex muscles in a maiden continental showpiece if plans by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to introduce the concept comes to fruition.
Caf president, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, revealed they were working on a comprehensive plan to include the inter-school games in the confederation’s calendar over the next few years.
“To make progress in Africa, we need to create partnerships that will accelerate growth and put in place structures at the youth level, with a particular focus on schools.
“Football is sport number one in Africa, and it can and must create opportunities in our continent that has many challenges,” said Dr. Motsepe.
Motsepe spoke in Kinshasa while signing a protocol for school championships which brought together Fifa, DR Congo Football Association (FECOFA) and the government of DR Congo.
The Caf boss pointed out the pilot project in Congo would set stage for a maiden continental showpiece “which will be extended to the six zones of Caf to the level of continental finals.”
He congratulated Fifa and DR Congo for coming up with the initiative, and assured them of Caf’s undying support going forward.
“Caf is committed to supporting the implementation of the brand-new Pan-African inter-school championship. The project, which is based on the organisation of football tournaments in schools, will be launched in DR Congo, before being extended to the six zones of CAF to the stage of continental finals.
“Inter-school competition should, through the power of football, help improve lives and instil positive values in young people. It is also about promoting health and supporting social cohesion by integrating football practice into the school curriculum,” said Motsepe.
“The initiative will make it possible to provide schools with football facilities and set up young referees’ recruitment and training programs. Also, young schoolchildren without distinction of gender will be able to play football and forge links across the continent,” he added.
Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura emphasised the need for leaders to innovate better opportunities for African youth.
“Fifa is committed with the African Union and CAF to improve the standards of African football, and to offer prospects to many young Africans. We are convinced that football is more than a sport, and that it also brings skills and values.
Kenya has been actively involved in inter-school tournaments over the years and such a platform will give the country a clear opportunity to gauge its mettle against other football giants on the continent.
Experts contend the platform will also give the East African nation an idea how effective its existing youth structures are vis a vis the rest of the world.
The school calendar was, however, halted following confirmation of the first case of the coronavirus in the country, with Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) chairman Peter Orero attributing the decision to a directive from the Ministry of Education.
“We are consulting with the Ministry of Education and they will advise us on the next step because all decisions regarding co-curricular activities are made by the Ministry.”
- The Star