- Mr FIFA President
- Members of the FIFA Council and CAF Executive Committee
- Members of the Diplomatic Corps
- Distinguished invited guests
- Ladies and Gentlemen , all protocol observed
This is certainly a considerable sacrifice of all present here. Especially for those who know the multiple solicitations of which they are the subject. While welcoming to Gabon those who have joined us these last hours, I would like to thank you all for your presence. It honours the great African football family and bears witness to the commitment that you bring to us.
May I also express my gratitude to the people of Gabon especially to the Head of State, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, who, together with his Government, has implemented all the necessary Financial, Human and Material resources, for the 31st edition of the Total Africa Cup of Nations to become a success.
To all those who have worked, through the Local Organizing Committee, for almost 15 months, to ensure that no detail is neglected, I would also like to say thank you. Without these little hands, from the volunteers to the High Commissioner, it would have been difficult to deliver all that we have seen so far.
Dear Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
I would also like to take this opportunity to present to you directly, my best wishes for this year which is an important turning point in the development of football in Africa.
Indeed, this year marks the beginning of a new cycle of commercialization of the media and marketing rights of our competitions.
As an immediate and tangible return, the winner of the Total Africa Cup of Nations, which will be known tomorrow, will receive 4 Million Dollars. Before, the prize money for the winner was 1.5 Million Dollars.
A total of nearly 16.5 million Dollars will be distributed among the 16 countries that started the tournament on 14 January.
All CAF competitions will be impacted in similar proportions. With bonuses to participating teams multiplied by two, or even three, in some cases.
This illustrates the value of our competitions, but also the confidence we can, through our seriousness, inspire broadcasters around the world, and the business partners that I thank here especially the Total Group which has become title sponsor for most of our competitions.
My thanks also go to the Orange Group, which has maintained its confidence in us, not to mention Lagardère Sports, which over the years has been strictly dedicated to meeting its commitments to CAF, which helps in maintaining CAF trust vis-à-vis Lagardère Sports.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
All this has been made possible only through the sacrifices and joint efforts of all the presidents of the African football Associations gathered here. On a daily basis, they invest their time, and often their money, to make progress in their respective countries.
We all know that, in principle, they are driven by their passion for football, their commitment to work for the flourishing of the African youth and the development of the continent.
On a personal level, these are the pillars that motivated our career choices yesterday, which has enabled our progress to date. These pillars remain our source of motivation, so that together we will continue to work for the transformation of African football.
What reward will replace the satisfaction of seeing the hope of a better future that we offer to these millions of young people, creating the conditions so that they can not only live their passion in decent conditions here in Africa but also make a life of this passion if they decide to make it a profession?
What financial compensation could be offered to offset the multiple sacrifices you make on a daily basis, often at the expense of your individual comfort and your families?
If my motivation had been material in choosing the profession I wished to pursue, I would not have been a Physical Education and Sports teacher. For many other lucrative opportunities were offered to me.
The Almighty has granted my path to cross people who share the same ideal as me, namely: to invest in youth development. This has allowed us, for years, to change the face of African football and allows us to continue to fight, so that African football will be at its right place on the world map.
As we have always been united and in solidarity, we are capable of greater things for our countries and our continent.
Long live African football!