The Moroccan acting secretary general Abdelmounaïm Bah made us the pleasure of being our guest this Tuesday on our platform Africa Football Media, platform of African journalists
Mr. Abdelmounaïm Bah combines the posts of secretary general of the African Football Confederation and marketing director of the same body with him we will discuss the subject on the pandemic which is hitting the world with full force and African football in particular that of covid -19.
Richard Naha: Mr. Secretary General tell us for those who do not know you deeply who is Abdelmounaim Bah professionally?
Abdelmounaïm Bah: To make it short I am 39 years old I joined CAF two years ago as a marketing director who became commercial director before that I worked for 5 years at lagardère sports the former CAF agency and as you know since the resignation of the former secretary general i am the secretary general i am acting until the next meeting of the executive committee.
Raphael Happi: SG: how do you manage to deal with two positions within CAF?
AB: it is clear that I combine the two positions but it is done in a natural way, I obviously rely on the teams in place, including the Assistant General Secretary Anthony Baffoe, all the directors, all of the department heads for once the work is fairly fluid
Samuel biyong: Mr. Secretary General, what are the guarantees today that Chan will always be played in 2020? And if the coronavirus does not fade, the Caf will hold Chan and Can in 2021 in Cameroon ??? Or is it still the obscure ???
AB: unfortunately we have no guarantee today that CHAN will be played out in 2020, we really hope that in the next few weeks over the next few months this crisis will be behind us, that we have all passed the peak and that everyone is under control and if at that time we judge that the conditions are met to be able to play the CHAN we will play it in 2020 it is today the wish of the Cameroonian CAF authorities obviously we will not take any risk will only play if all the conditions are met to play in the best conditions and today it is clear that CHAN and CAN will be played in Cameroon!
Hugues Zinsou Zounon sports journalist from Benin: the general secretary, the argument for the CAN 2021 slide in January / February was mainly the weather. Here, the Coronavirus forces UEFA to put its Euro in June / July 2021 on the calendar upset European championships, FIFA will no longer be able to organize its club competition in June / July, and you know that many teams have their players in the West. Finally we play the third and fourth days in June or September? and CAN 2021 still at the start of the year?
AB: for the moment the CAN is still scheduled for January-February 2021 the only reason that would push us to postpone this competition is if the situation persists over the year 2020 and that this current crisis does not allow us to play l ‘the set of qualifications at the CAN we still have 4 day of qualifications to play, we can play them two by two so we need two international windows. Today we have 4 JUNE, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER if we can play in June on days 3 and 4 we will play them otherwise we will play them in September or then in October and we will play days 5 and 6 in November. In any event, the current crisis considerably disrupts the calendars.
there is a working group at CAF which works on the different scenarios there is a working group which has been set up at FIFA level which brings together all the confederations today it is too early to comment on the dates of the next days and all the options are on the tables but the CAN is still scheduled for January-February 2021.
Antoine Battiono journalist burkina faso: If the coronavirus situation does not improve before the new season, what will CAF do regarding the African club cuts. And what would be the shortfall for these clubs and CAF on the financial level?
AB: Except that this crisis lasts 6 months, 1 year club competitions are maintained they will most likely be delayed to allow the African championships to end and allow the clubs to be able to register their players as the current situation impacts all African championships it’s almost a matter of delaying the start of the next Champions League and the next Confederation Cup for now, it’s just a time lag with the objective of having the finals will play in May 2021, we are currently working on certain scenarios to delay the start of these competitions
PAPE FALL former Senegalese international: does CAF, through its president, really know the priorities of African football ??? What are: infrastructure and training for managers and young people
AB: I do not doubt for a moment that the president and his executive committee know the priorities of African football it is they who define the priorities of the administration of CAF obviously the infrastructures are part of it there were announcements late January- early February on this subject it is one of the real priority subjects today at CAF, training too. We conducted workshops last year all over the continent for all secretaries general and all federations very successful, this year we are preparing the same for the intentions of the trade managers of the federations to try to raise awareness of all commercial aspects, partnerships, digital, of course the president and the executive committee are aware of the priorities of African football.
Ceda Muitapayi journalist DRC: Mr. SG, the pandemic puts us in a state of uncertainty, while in Europe things seem to evolve, in Africa the pandemic wants to settle.
What will CAF base itself on to play the rest of the playoffs if the rest continues to deteriorate in Africa and especially that most African players evolve abroad, will CAF depend on European whims?
AB: I don’t know how things will evolve in the next few weeks but for the moment Africa is relatively spared and that we are better off than in Europe I do not see the same things at all in the same direction in Europe it will improve and in Africa the pandemic will take hold.
For the time being, according to WHO experts, Africa is relatively spared. Regarding the resumption of competitions I do not see it like that we will not depend on European whims, there is a working group led by FIFA which includes all the confederations we are all affected by this problem and we all try together to find solutions.
the problems know them for the resumption of our championships it is on the one hand the calendars which are extremely busy and which are very difficult to shake up we also have commitments towards our commercial partners but all we are aware that the priority remains the health of football players and viewers.
Samuel Biyong Cameroonian journalist: The next ldc final will be played at the Japoma stadium in Douala, Cameroon. How did the Caf arrive at this choice? How will Cameroon be involved in the organization of this final ???
AB: At the beginning of the year we launched a call for candidates for the final of the champion league and for the final of the confederation cup we had received 3 applications from Morocco, Tunisia, and Cameroon, the CAF had set up an ad hoc committee to Evaluate these files according to various criteria, in particular the stadiums, the presence or not of a guarantee from the local authorities, the neutrality of the stadium proposed in relation to the teams that are currently engaged, the availability of hotels , the availability of training grounds, the state of infrastructure, the availability of an airport in the host city and the availability of hospitals on the basis of these criteria the ad hoc committee considered that the best proposal came from Cameroon with japoma stadium in douala and this decision was validated by the emergency committee of CAF. Like any federation host the fecafoot is committed to respecting the specifications of CAF whether in terms of security, commercial aspects, a certain number of elements to be supported financially as CAF is committed to take charge of TV production, a ceremony, everything was clearly defined in the framework agreement between FECAFOOT and CAF
Rodrigue bekaleo gabonese journalist: It is true that the coronavirus remains at the origin of the cancellations of certain competitions planned in certain countries, What does the caf do for certain countries which are in debt towards certain partners to carry out its completions today canceled. I speak for example of the Cameroonian?
AB: It is true that this crisis has come to put the states in very complicated situations, concerning CHAN and Cameroon, we envisage that a postponement in the next months and indeed in 2020. we have discussed it well with COCAN which in charge of organizing the CHAN and the CAN we will try to make the financial impact as low as possible all will depend on the period in which we will play the competition we hope that the CHAN will be played in the next few months which will limit the financial impact but if necessary we will think about solutions if the crisis were to perpetuate.
christian Aliki burkinabé journalist: Morocco has been chosen to host the Confederation Cup final. When we know that of the 4 teams in the semi-finals, there are two from Morocco. Suddenly a Moroccan team will play the final at home. How will CAF manage this situation which will naturally be against the other team?
AB: for the Confederation Cup we received only one application which is that of RABAT so it is the RABAT stadium which will host the final of the Confederation Cup despite the presence of two Moroccan clubs on the ‘posters of the semi-finals of this competition is not a major problem which has already occurred elsewhere in other confederations for the next editions the choice of places will be made well in advance which will create a little less problem.
Aboubacry ba Senegalese journalist: Is a CHAN in June-July possible for CAF?
If not, can offshoring outside the tropical zone be studied to maintain competition in 2020?
AB: a CHAN in June-July does not seem possible for two reasons first of all for the climatic conditions and June seems to us much too close to organize a competition like the CHAN which requires a lot of preparation beforehand and there will not be relocated CHAN will take place in Cameroon
Lassana Camara Mauritanian journalist Congratulations once again on your nomination!
CAF had launched marketing tenders for major competitions in 2020 and 2021!
Where are we, when is the verdict?
Besides, is a return from Lagardère still possible?
AB: Regarding the calls for tenders that we have launched, they do not concern rights but they concern the technical services that we owe to our commercial partners on the TV and marketing aspects. We launched them at the beginning of March and the deadline for submitting a offer has been set for March 31st the choice of partners who will accompany us during the 2020-21 season it will be during April concerning Lagardère sport today there is an arbitration procedure which has been launched we are still continuing negotiations to try to find an amicable agreement through our lawyers this is where we are with Lagardère sport
Ellihat Togolese journalist: Mr SG, I would like to come back to the case of Togo and its Kégué stadium. According to some indiscretions CAF threatens to suspend the stadium on the grounds that it is not up to standard. And yet it has just been renovated. What is it exactly?
A.B: The stadium was inspected a few months ago by CAF. It has been judged to standards even if there are a few minor points to correct: improvements to the changing rooms, equipment to be installed in the press conference room.
Cynthia Nzetia journalist DRC: Where are we in the choice of the host country for the Women’s Can which is supposed to take place at the end of this year 2020?
AB: Two candidacies were presented for the CAN women during the last executive committee of CAF in doha in mid February, notably that of Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea which for us were not complete. We asked the associations concerned to complete their file. application, the decision had to be taken at the next executive committee meeting in April unfortunately the executive committee has been postponed and for the moment there is no date we are following this closely and we do not will not hesitate to relaunch the executive committee see the emergency committee if the executive committee fails to meet on this specific point
wambobo fridollin Central African journalist. Just find out how CAF pays money to federations. How do you monitor the expenses of these federations?
AB: CAF pays income to federations through different means, first of all, prize money from different competitions, for example on the CAN according to the teams’ routes, a certain amount is paid to the federations, we also pay annual grants to each of the federations we ask them to make commitments on the said subsidies it is about 200,000 dollars / year and we are led to pay to certain federations and especially to the zones of the largest subsidies in the case of the FIFA FORWARD project with strict monitoring of the expenditure of these grants which are granted at the start of the project and the rest at the end of the project upon presentation of an invoice
Moustapha Togolese journalist I want to talk a little bit about the subject of youth competitions Why for the CAN U20 and U17 qualifiers the CAF decided to be Zonal ?? The number brought to 12 why not at the same to 16 ?? And given the current situation are you sure that all its competitions will hold? If not, what is plan B?
AB: Regarding the CAN U17 and U20 qualifiers, the CAF has decided to organize in collaboration with the zonal unions. This has mainly an economic advantage. It prevents the U17 and U20 teams from having to cross the entire continent to play matches. qualifications these are logistical costs are enormous this allows to strengthen the zonal unions so that they organize a maximum of competition, and why the number is raised to 12 steps to 16 teams it is because we want to go gradually on the CAN U 20; U17 and CAN women until then we had 8 teams it would have been premature to go from 8 to 16. Regarding the fact that we are sure that the competitions will be held I would say that for the moment we are sure that we don ‘ will not cancel competitions.
As you know the competitions have been postponed and so are all the meetings and Workshop that were planned we will try to hold a maximum of meetings by videoconference CAF continues to operate even if 90% of CAF staff work at home there is still a small part of CAF staff who go to headquarters every day respecting very strict hygiene measures, this is the protocol that is currently being used at CAF to prepare the next deadlines to prepare resumption of competitions think about different scenarios for the matches that have been postponed