- The Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Egypt
- Secretary General of FIFA
- Gentlemen of the CAF Executive Committee
- The President of the Egyptian Football Association
- Ladies and gentlemen, delegates to the General Assembly
- Dear CAF partners
- Ladies and gentle representing the media
- Distinguished guests, in your respective titles and rangs
- Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish, before all else, to do myself the pleasure of welcoming the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, who, in this capacity, is attending a CAF General Assembly Meeting on African soil for the first time.
Particularly, I wish to also welcome the Secretary General of FIFA, who, in this capacity, is also attending her first General Assembly meeting of CAF on this African soil where she was born.
To Egyptian officials, represented here by the Minister of Youth and Sports, and to the President of the Egyptian Football Association, our host, thank you for the loving words said about me, and for the concern that has been given to us all, up to this moment in Cairo, the city which also hosts the headquaters of the Confédération Africaine de Football.
That CAF has become a permanent institution, which will soon celebrate its 60th anniversary, is largely thanks to our various forms of sacrifices, from our predecessors and business partners who believed in us since many years ago.
Your availability is far from being the least of these sacrifices. Especially to one who knows the various solicitations, duties and responsibilities that are yours in your respective countries, but each time that African and world football have had need of you, to break through a threshold and pursue its way forward, fueled by your passion, you have always been there.
By virtue of your sense of responsibility, your massive and unconditional support, for which I will never be able to thank you enough, you brought about the adoption of a series of reforms in FIFA on 26 February 2016 in Zurich, thus helping me to complete the mission that was assigned to me as the Interim President of FIFA.
Distinguished guests, dear delegate, ladies and gentlemen,
It is due to the urgent need for CAF to align itself with the new status quo that we have gathered here today for the Extraordinary General Assembly, in order to update our statutes to conform with those of FIFA. As well as to be capable of standing up to the supplemental positions which henceforth are Africa's in FIFA's Council.
May I now thank the working group that was setup to this effect for the good job that has been done since last May. It is the draft of the work, debated upon within the Executive Committee, that I urge you to adopt today.
We ought, together, to continue with the reflection in order to propel ourselves into the future and definitely set African football in proper alignment with modernity, be it from a statutory or structural stand point. Together we have been working on it unrelentingly long ago.
The present health of the Confederation is the living testimony of the fact that the efforts we have made so far have not been in vain. The tens of competitions we organize have mastered timing, robust organization, increased participation and a general level constant improvement.
The foregoing undoubtedly helps to establish the seriousness of the institution and allows us to forge new partnerships with sponsors and other partners who see in CAF a credible institution, reliable and worthwhile interlocutor.
It is through this lens that the harmonious relationship with the other confederations and the governing body - FIFA, should be seen. The latter, to which I reiterate my gratitude for the assistance and multifaceted support through development programmes and capacity building initiatives for our coaches, referees and administrators.
My thanks, in this light, are also directed at our member associations for their unconditional adherence to our numerous undertakings for the development of football in Africa, of which one of the most recent is the licencing of clubs, for which about 90% of them have already had to sacrifice in the preliminary stages.
Distinguished guests, dear delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
This Extraordinary General Assembly only marks one step in a process that aims at being broadly inclusive. At its end, a broad consultation, to include all member associations of CAF will be opened, in order to set up a unit in charge of suggesting the putting in place of supplementary reforms, with the short, medium and long term objective of ameliorating the governance, competitiveness and professionalism of African football. This is in order to stand up to future challenges and guarantee the development of our football and its radiance at the global level.
The realisation of potentials, which no one doubts of Africa, starts from there. It is the reason why we dream of the day when an African team will be crowned World Champion. What, in terms of intrinsic value, is not a farce.
The celebration of the 60th anniversary of CAF in 2017, a year that equally marks the beginning of a new commercial round of our competitions, offers us the pretext and context for a decisive impulse. This is a task that concerns us all.
I do not doubt one instance that together, united as we have always been, we will be able to overcome the challenges of the future.
Long live African football!
Let us celebrate Africa!