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The FIFPro Division Africa Board recently met in Cairo with, as the main item on its agenda, preparations for the next Division Congress, to be held in Douala on 14 and 15 May. But the Board members also wanted to check out the real status of Egyptian football - and of the national players’ union.

 

On Friday, more than 100,000 demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square reminded the Division Africa Board members (Stéphane Burchkalter, Magdy Abdel Ghani, David Mayébi, Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe and Stéphane Saint-Raymond) that the Egyptian revolution has not yet ended. Shouts from the street formed a background to briskly held discussions at the first of the Board’s two annual meetings.

 

Placed five weeks before the Division’s Congress, scheduled for 14 and 15 May in Douala, this meeting that finalized the programme bore witness to the vitality of a Division that, like a football team, now has eleven members.

 

'This kind of meeting enables us to evaluate the overall situation of the Division and also to define the various political and other actions that we shall be submitting to the whole Division for approval at our Congress', notes Secretary-General Stéphane Burchkalter. 'Yet again, the balance sheet is satisfactory, and the projects we have defined, once approved, will enable us to continue on the path of professionalization and progress. This will necessarily boost the success of the Division, and of each of its members.'

 

The success of the Egyptian union need no longer be demonstrated.  It is perfectly established in the daily life of Egyptian professional footballers, and is determined to stay as close to them as possible, in particular by using all available multimedia options. The Division Africa Board could hardly pass through Cairo without paying a visit to the offices of the union, meeting its permanent members, and rejoicing in the work carried out by Magdy Abdel Ghani’s team.

 

It was thanks to Ghani, better known in Egypt as Captain Magdy, that the FIFPro Board was able to visit the Cairo facilities of Al Ahly, designated African Club of the Twentieth Century in 2000 by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

 

'Although football is Al Ahly’s best known section, it’s a multi-sports club and has been reigning over Egyptian sport for more than a hundred years. Whether you look at its record of achievements, its facilities, or the social links it creates, this club is exemplary and on a par with the biggest European sporting organizations. It’s a symbol, solid and immense, but has been able to keep its operations on a human scale. We have been impressed by what we have seen', concludes Stéphane Burchkalter.

 

'It’s proof, if proof were needed, that genuine professionalism can be established, develop and get on well in Africa. Examples such as that of Al Ahly - and there are others as well - are bound to encourage all of Africa’s driving forces to get organized and make the continent’s football of tomorrow meet everyone’s expectations.'

 

At the offices of the Egyptian union, with all its permanent employees

 

With players of Al Ahly: Abd Allah El Saeed (grey shirt) and Wael Gomaa (red shirt)