An MoU that will see the creation of schools football championship was on Thursday signed between the Congo DR Football Association (FECOFA) and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa, DR Congo.
According to a release from APO Group, FECOFA President Constant Omari, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, and DRC Minister for Sport and Leisure Marcel Amos Mbayo Kitenge signed a MoU that outlined the terms of the schools’ football competition and how it will use the power of the game to improve lives and instill positive values in young people.
The event was attended by CAF President Patrice Motsepe and CAF Secretary General Veron Mosengo-Omba. This followed after meetings between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the DRC and current African Union Chairperson Félix Tshisekedi were held earlier this year.
In collaboration with the FECOFA, FIFA and the government of the DRC will organize football tournaments in schools throughout the country, which has a population of almost 90 million people, before being scaled up in several other countries in Africa with the support of CAF.
The initiative, according to the release, will allow FECOFA, FIFA, and the government of the DRC to promote health and support social cohesion by integrating football training into the school curriculum to teach children the importance of teamwork, self-confidence, strategy, respecting rules, how to be a good winner and how to deal with losing.
It will also see young people being recruited and trained in refereeing, the provision of football facilities and infrastructures in schools and more girls and boys being physically active and strengthening their links with each other through youth competitions on a pan-African level.
Speaking at the signing of the MoU FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said: “FIFA is committed to working with the African Union and CAF to play its part in not only raising the levels of African football but in providing opportunities through football to the many children throughout our continent who have none. We believe in the power of football as more than just a game but as a means of learning life skills and the school’s football championship provides the perfect environment to put these skills into action and the perfect opportunity for Africa’s young people to become inspired and empowered by the beautiful game.”
The CAF President Patrice Motespe commended both FIFA and the DRC leadership on the initiative and the unique opportunity it provides to invest in African youth through the values of football, as well as its potential to inspire African girls and boys to become better citizens.
Dr. Motsepe also stated that the launch of the competition is a pilot project which will lead to the establishment of an interschool competition in the six African zones resulting in a Pan-African school’s championship final.
He added that one of the best investments in the future and success of African football is to invest in school football and the building of youth football academies for boys and girls.