The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Monday announced that it was developing a new football competition for schools across the continent.
“The best investment we can make to ensure that African football is amongst the best in the world and self-sustaining is to invest in schools football and youth football development infrastructure for boys and girls,” said CAF President Patrice Motsepe..
He added: “This is one of my key focus areas as president of CAF.
The CAF Pan-African Schools Football Championship will be an intercontinental school soccer tournament for both boys and girls.
It will be a grassroots effort to use the lessons of football to guide growth and development and shape future leaders.
Motsepe said he believes football has the power to change the continental narrative from the ground up.
The CAF president, who is a renowned South African tycoon and philanthropist, has dedicated $10 million to the Pan-African Schools Football Championship initiative through the Motsepe Foundation.
Leaders and ministers from the West African Football Union representing Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte dIvoire, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, and DRC have endorsed the Schools Football Championship tournament.
CAF General Secretary Véron Mosengo-Omba said: As our schools prepare our future leaders, a continent-wide tournament will help instil football values like respect, discipline, teamwork and fair play into their hearts and minds.
Set to begin in March 2022, the CAF Pan-African Schools Football Championship will begin with a bidding process whereby countries across the continent will bid to be a host country.
The tournament will be divided into three levels, starting with its first leg – the National School Football Championship to be held in June and August 2022.
Every CAF member association will organise a national competition with its school football teams.
The finalist teams of the boys and girls national tournaments will then qualify for the zonal tournament.
Each CAF zone will then organise a zonal School Football Championship to be held between September and December 2022.
Finalists in this championships, and two boys and two girls schools teams will qualify to participate in the official and ultimate Pan-African School Football Championship to be kicked off in March 2023.
Much like the Africa Cup of Nations, we want to generate an excitement to become a part of something truly momentous,” said Mosengo-Omba.
“We will host a bidding process and determine the host country like we do in these tournaments. We want it to be something to aspire to and be proud of.