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FIFA Chief Wenger suggests developing African football talent and building better clubs

FIFA Chief Wenger suggests developing African football talent and building better clubs

FIFA Chief Wenger suggests developing African football talent and building better clubs

 

Five African nations will compete for recognition on the international stage in November and December, when the 2022 World Cup in Qatar begins.

Only Cameroon, Senegal, and Ghana have advanced past the quarterfinals of the competition since Egypt became the first team from the continent to compete at the football jubilee in 1934, and none have been able to advance past the final four.

There is a strong belief that the best of African football has yet to be seen by the world, despite the continent producing a constellation of star players who have dazzled the sport with their brilliance. However, performance at the World Cup will not reflect the exponential growth of African football over the past two decades.

Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s chief of global football development, stressed in an interview with the Africa Football Business Show that having stronger infrastructure will help raise the level of the game on the continent.

“The first move of a player from Africa to Europe is the cheap one. The first move on an average is 300,000 Euros but the second move of an African player from a European club to another European club is on average about 3,000,000 Euros, that is 10 times more.”

“To tackle that you need stronger clubs in Africa. Clubs that are in positions where they don’t have to give in and after that maybe create stronger leagues. Strengthen the continent with strong clubs where they can keep their players for a longer time.”

“We analyzed football in 205 countries and the best ranked 20 nations in the world have the best youth and identification programs, the best education and many more. There is a big correlation between the level of education and the performance of a player.”

The world football governing organization FIFA’s “The Vision 2020-2023” vision, which outlines its action plan for the sport’s growth, places a strong emphasis on education for all participants.

The world football governing organization FIFA’s “The Vision 2020-2023” vision, which outlines its action plan for the sport’s growth, places a strong emphasis on education for all participants.

“We have to start with restrictive groups in countries where grassroots football isn’t developed and Africa for us is a very huge target for us and we’ll move in 2023 to assist in creating these centers. We want to put education first and it’s important for federations to cooperate with us.”

Wenger, who became famous for a 22-year, trophy-filled career with English club Arsenal F.C., is certain that well-organized teams supported by forward-thinking policies would change the course of African football for the better.

“The identification of talent is very important. We want to make sure the best are recruited and put against the best and give them quality education. We want to identify people at 12 or 13 and give them five years of education. We want to see a larger number of excellence centers and overall, you need to develop grassroots football.”

The knock-on effects of such actions will improve coaching in Africa and close the gender gap in football participation. “Girls have less opportunities to play. When you speak to the girls, they want to play, they want opportunities and all over the world girls deserve the same chances as the boys.”

“Strong clubs will take charge of the education of young footballers, and they will develop players as well. With that, those countries will be stronger and with the World cup moving up to 48 there’s a bigger incentive there for the clubs to do well because then it means their countries can stand a good chance of playing at the World Cup”

“Good clubs can enhance the education of kids and it can also provide coaches with a good platform to perform.”

“There are good coaches in Africa but there are not enough clubs with the financial power to pay them. That is why we need to create the opportunities to give them the chance to develop their talent.” Wenger concluded.

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