Africa has a rich history of developing stars of the world game and providing life opportunities through football. The Soccerex African Forum, 4-5 November, taking place at the stunning Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, will look at how this reputation has been formed with a number of sessions focused on player development in Africa.
On the opening afternoon of the Forum, the Pepsi Football Academy will be hosting an exclusive session focusing on the work done by the facility in providing the most talented and skilled youngsters with the opportunity to progress their career within football. The academy, based in Nigeria, provides a platform for young players to train and play in a disciplined environment whilst ensuring each student acquires skills that exceed football ability alone.
There will also be a presentation titled ‘Developing the Next Generation of Football Talent’ featuring former Sierra Leone coach, Johnny McKinstry, CEO of SAFA Development Agency Dr. Robin Peterson and ASEC Mimosas General Manager Benoit You.
Appointed in January 2010, McKinstry is the Academy Manager of the Craig Bellamy Foundation, Sierra Leone’s only full-time elite football academy. McKinstry has previously been named ‘UK Grassroots Coach of the Year’ by Manchester United FC for his work within the football industry and his expertise in ‘Outstanding Team Motivation’. The former Pre-Academy Coach at New York Red Bulls between 2007 and 2009 also worked at the Right to Dream Academy based in Ghana which has been voted amongst the top 15 academies in world football by Bleacher Report.
Upon Dr. Peterson’s appointment to the role of CEO of SAFA Development Agency in 2012, SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani declared that Peterson would be taking responsibility for driving SAFA’s vision to be consistently in the top three sides in Africa and the top 20 in the world by 2022. Having previously worked on a SAFA World Cup bid as well as being CEO of Premier Soccer League at the start of the century, Peterson is a well qualified appointment and will bring great experience to the panel.
As General Manager of ASEC Mimosas since June 2011, Benoît You is in charge of carrying out the club’s strategy as defined by the administrative board, heads the management team and oversees all financial and commercial aspects within the club. ASEC have an impressive history of player development and can boast the likes of Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou and Emmanuel Eboue amongst their alumni.
Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie said: “It is very exciting to have some of the most influential figures in African player development presenting at our African Forum. The work that has been done by Johnny, Robin and Benoit as well as the Pepsi Academy has been instrumental in enhancing the growth of youngsters across the continent and I have no doubt the presentations will provide some excellent insight into the world of talent development.”
The Soccerex African Forum will bring together 1,000 senior football decision makers together with businesses from across the continent and the world for two days of unrivalled learning, networking and business opportunities to unite the business of football in Africa.