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After their very first visit to the offices of the Association of Ivorian Footballers (AFI), on Wednesday 20 June 2012, Aruna Dindane (secretary general) and Kolo Touré (first vice-president), two of the founding members of that Ivorian union, came back to join in a working meeting with president Cyrille Domoraud and his team.


In a warm and friendly atmosphere, the two Ivorian internationals worked for more than an hour with Cyrille Domoraud and the other members of the AFI, on the four points on the agenda at this important meeting: the genesis of the AFI and the progress it has made, a discussion about membership, and miscellaneous items.


Aruna Dindane, who was behind the creation of the union in Ghana in 2008, expressed his delight with its leap forward, in terms of both quality and quantity. What a long way it has come indeed, from Ivorian participation as a simple observer at the FIFPro Congress (Chile 2008) to the establishment of an administrative team, acquiring a registered office along the way. Dindane acknowledged this feat and warmly congratulated Cyrille Domoraud, who on this occasion was surrounded by such colleagues as Ahmed Ouattara (adviser), and Beugré Yago (permanent member).


‘You honoured us by taking this work in hand’, he told his former captain with the Elephants, before reminding him that ‘the hardest part is just beginning.’ For Aruna, it is necessary to continue with selflessness. For, he assured us, ‘tomorrow, the AFI will be an opportunity for our brothers who play here in Africa. Not everyone has the luck to go to Europe.’


Kolo, agreeing wholeheartedly, recalled his personal experience in England with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), and promised to be more directly involved in the life of the AFI from now on. This gives the Ivorian union, which is gaining ground, a new major asset. Especially because, following the example of Dindane, this Manchester City player is willing to make use of his image to get the message through to young footballers. 


‘Making use of our image’ 
'Developing public awareness requires a big publicity campaign. It’s down to me, Aruna, Didier Drogba and all the others to make use of our image, to bring home to our younger brothers the merits of the AFI.’


Keenly anxious to achieve massive membership among footballers (he’s hoping to win over at least 80% of those playing in Divisions 1 and 2), Dindane insisted on the need to make as many of them as possible realize that this was ‘in their interest.’


Players’ contracts and the minimum wage in each division were also discussed. These are things that Domoraud has been working on since the birth of the AFI. He reminded everyone at the meeting of the AFI’s priorities: it looks after the defence of active players, gets involved in their redeployment, puts a retirement fund together for them and so on. All in all, the AFI works for the well-being of footballers and the development of the discipline in the Ivory Coast. As evidenced, for example, by the gift of six defibrillators to the Federation on 10 May last.


Happy, and convinced that this meeting would not be the last, the two members of the Executive Board have engraved this visit to AFI headquarters in letters of gold. Later the same evening, they met once more on television to launch an awareness campaign targeted at players.