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Fourteen African player unions have met at the FIFPro Africa general assembly in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls to discuss different ways to improve the working conditions of professional footballers on the continent.

The agenda included the official introduction of Stacey Naris to the board of FIFPro Africa. The Namibian national team player is the first female on the division’s six-person executive committee.

To advance its work, FIFPro Africa set up three committees. One is to investigate new African player unions applying for membership. “We will do a thorough research, not to discourage candidates, but to decide how we can help them,” said Domo Landu, the secretary of this committee.

A second committee was established to help unions in the region become more professional. “We target issues including finance, legal, administration and communication and will organize specific training events,” said Kgosana Masaseng, who is running this committee. In June a first meeting is scheduled in Botswana to discuss communication.

The third group aims to continue improving the collaboration with Africa’s governing body, CAF, and the continent’s top players. Since CAF President Ahmad Ahmad spoke at the FIFPro congress in Egypt in December, both organizations have intensified their relationship.

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Kgosana Masaseng and Domo Landu

“The institutions appear to understand that we are not enemies,” said Geremi Njitap, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder who is a FIFPro Africa board member. “We have our disagreements, but our interest - the players’ interest – is developing professional football.”

Geremi said there were signs of progress in most of the countries where there are FIFPro member unions, citing the creation of standard player contracts to strengthen employment conditions and dispute resolution chambers to settle conflicts between clubs and players.

FIFPro Africa members also discussed collaboration with FIFPro Asia which aims to support the hundreds of African footballers playing in Asia.

Both divisions consist of relatively young player organizations which are confronted with similar problems. “We should try to develop joint solutions to make more progress,” said Stéphane Burchkaltter, secretary general of FIFPro Africa.

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