World Cup Good for Africa - Abedi
Three-time African Player of The Year, Abedi Ayew Pele, of Ghana, the former Black Stars captain was in Kenya last week as part of his Africa tour to promote the new seasons soccer programme for SuperSport, the South African sports television channel. His SuperSport promotional tour will also take him to Nigeria and Zambia. Pele also visited Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) headquarters where he gave football tips to MYSA boys and girls. Pele spoke to Daily Nation reporter Chris Tsuma You are among those who campaigned for the 2010 Fifa World Cup to come to Africa. What do you think the hosting of the World Cup will do for African football? In the first place, having the World Cup in Africa is a great thing. For nearly four years, the focus of the world will be on Africa. All the 32 qualifying teams will play build up matches in Africa to acclimatise. African players will have a chance to play against players they only see on television. I also believe there will be an improvement in the quality of grounds because countries wishing to attract World Cup teams to train in their countries will have to bring their grounds to international standards. This will be of benefit to the African game in the long run. Also the chance to see some of the top world players live and even meet some of them will inspire young players. All we have to do is to organise a good World Cup and prove to the world that we can not only play good football, but also that we are also good in management. But isn't club football, which is the foundation of the game, doing very badly in Africa? This is something I am very worried about personally. I believe that CAF can do a lot to improve the situation. CAF can come up with regulations and enforce them to ensure that football association and leagues are managed professionally. Associations that do not adhere to the rules should be promptly sanctioned. CAF can also ensure that there are good grounds to play on. So you are blaming the poor state of African football on CAF? Yes. CAF is not enforcing rules that would ensure a professional management of clubs, leagues and FA's. Security at matches in Africa is still a problem. Africa is perhaps the only continent where visiting teams are booked in sub standard hotels, harassed by fans at night so they cannot sleep and then hosted on bumpy surfaces in attempts to frustrate them so they do not play well during the match and lose. Its ridiculous. What do you think of Fifa's involvement in the affairs of federations as is the case with the Kenya Football Federation where the world body is supporting one candidate who has no support from the KFF executive committee apart from the chairman? My view is that Fifa is not trying to impose its candidates on any federation. I believe what Fifa wants is for the KFF to be run professionally. It wants transparency and honesty in running the affairs of the federation. If the candidate who has been appointed cannot do the job properly, Fifa will definitely not support him. Now that you accuse CAF of having failed African football, do you have plans for vying for a position in the continental body? It is not part of my plans in the near future but I cannot rule it out. One of your contemporaries George Weah is running for presidency in Liberia. What do you think of this? His cousin James Debah has severely criticised the decision. George is my friend and I know he has had this ambition for some time. When he decided he was going for the Presidency, I asked him if he was really up to it and he said yes. He told me the people of Liberia want him to run. I wish him well and I will support his candidature in whichever way I can. Do you have ambitions of running for Ghana's presidency? No. Absolutely not. I believe there are many other ways in which I can contribute to the improvement of the lives of my fellow countrymen. You have a son who is being touted as future star, tell us a little about him. His name is Andre. Now he is in the Olympique Mersailles youth team. Yes, he is very talented and although it is the dream of every father to have a son who excels, I cannot tell whether Andre will be a great player. I am trying to do everything to help him become a good player in the future. There is a growing trend of young African players taking up European nationalities and play for European countries. Would you rather Andre played for Ghana or France? That is a difficult question but I think it would ultimately be up to him. Fifa has made it easy for players to turn out for one country at youth level and switch to another at full international. I'm sure he will make up his mind about it when the time comes.