The African Union specialised technical committee on youth, culture and sport has approved a decision that the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) – the main international football association competition in Africa – now “belongs” to the AU and will be organised under the banner of the continental organisation.
According to AU commissioner for social affairs Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, a new African sport institution – the New Architecture for Sport in Africa – will support and organise all sport activity on the continent.
“We believe that Africa should benefit from our athletes’ sporting institutions like other continents are doing. Also we want to harness the sport, culture and everything towards socioeconomic development rather than just the question of sport for entertainment,” he said.
“As we are moving the process forward we should make it a little bit more organised in every aspect.”
Kaloko said Africa had not yet reached the stage where people had the “technical capacity” to take drugs to enhance their performance. In Africa, people had to be educated about taking medication that could show up in urine, he said.
“We think education is very important while we are building the institutions. There was a laboratory in Kenya and you have heard that the lab will be closed. In Spain, Russia and most places in Europe, the laboratories have been closed. We are particularly worried about our brand countries like Ethiopia and Kenya. We do not want those ones to be affected,” he said.
On cultural matters, Kalako said there had been a great impact on the issue of Pan-Africanism and the African cultural renaissance.
“You know in Africa, whenever we have conflicts anywhere, people go and start destroying cultural artifacts. This has happened in Timbuktu, Mali and it happened in Eastern Congo as well.
“We’re working very hard to make sure that these cultural artifacts are repaired [and] protected in times of crisis and bring it to the attention of member states,” he said. – African News Agency (ANA)