CONFEDERATION OF AFRICAN FOOTBALL
Drastic changes are up for debate in Morocco
Rabat — Former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey‚ former Premier Soccer League coach Serame Letsoaka and Platinum Stars GM Senzo Mazingiza are among the high-profile South African football personalities participating in the Confederation of African Football’s symposium in Morocco‚ which could herald the start of drastic changes to the game on the continent.
A South African Football Association delegation‚ headed by president Danny Jordaan, is also in Rabat, the capital city, for the two-day event‚ which kicked off on Tuesday with intense discussions and workshops on various aspects of African football.
It could prove to be a watershed 48 hours if the participants resolve to change several of the more contentious issues, like the timing of both the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and the annual club competitions.
Moving the Afcon finals to a date in June — where it will no longer clash with the European club season — is one recommendation that could be passed‚ as well as a possible expansion of the tournament to 24 teams.
In 2016, there were more teams in the European Championship in France, where minnows such as Iceland and Wales caused major upsets.
There is also talk of changing the next Afcon host.
Morocco‚ which has been making a major power play in African football in recent months with donations to other associations‚ is set to take over the 2019 finals from Cameroon. It is not an item on the agenda, but is a heavy undertone ahead of the start of deliberations.
The frequency of Afcon will be discussed, too, but holding it every two years rather than every four years means more money for African football and more competitive games for the continent’s national teams.
Changing the dates of the club competition games is being proposed, which will be music to the ears of Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and others.
The Confederation of African Football is recognising that playing group matches of the Champions League in May‚ June and July — where the continent’s top leagues are supposed to be off on holiday — has a bad effect on clubs from top leagues including that of SA.
It will propose changing the dates of the Champions League and Confederation Cup so that they begin in September and end in May‚ like the similar competitions in Europe.
Tovey will be in a workshop with other former African stars such as Samuel Eto’o and Jay-Jay Okocha about a legacy for players and how to help young African footballers better prepare for life after their playing days are finished.