Africa Sports

Congo Brazzaville: A test for professional football

What if, for the first time in Congo's history, professionalization of the national sport became an unquestionable reality?Dreams of any type cannot be nourished by the struggle, but there is a cost.

What if, for the first time in Congo’s history, professionalization of the national sport became an unquestionable reality?Dreams of any type cannot be nourished by the struggle, but there is a cost.

Even though the women’s national team’s 1-1 draw with Egypt in the first leg of the FIFA U20 World Cup 2024 preliminary stage may still be fresh in their memories, November 11 is a new day for the football community in Congo.

This afternoon marks the commencement of the 2023–2024 Ligue 1 national championship throughout the country. There are some delicious fixtures on the schedule, such AS Otoho d’Oyo, the six-time champions, welcoming Inter Club de Brazzaville. AS Vegas de Brazzaville, who have been promoted to Ligue 1 for the first time, will face Étoile du Congo, the third-place finishers from the previous season and, more importantly, the most successful team with eleven Ligue 1, six cups, and two Congo Super Cups.

Yet regardless of what everyone anticipates, this 59th edition looks to be exceptional and one-of-a-kind. It will be the last competition held in amateur style before switching to just professional competitions. In any case, after a meeting with the leaders of the Ligue 1 teams on November 8, the Congolese Football Federation (Fecofoot) made the following announcement: “We are going to face a difficulty. The regulatory body’s president, Jean Guy Blaise Mayolas, said, “We are heading toward professionalism.”

Reform and advantages

There will be many changes that will signify this shift towards professionalism.Among them are, for instance, the establishment of a Professional Football League and the allocation of a subsidy to each of the fourteen Ligue 1 teams totaling thirty million CFA francs (more than forty-five thousand euros) as opposed to nine million last season.

The Congolese champions earned a check for 80 million CFA francs, or more than 121,958 euros, whilst AS Otoho d’Oyo received a check for 25 million CFA francs, or more than 38,100 euros, the previous season. The federation’s reimbursement of transportation expenses is one of the other advantages.

We’re having advanced conversations with our partners right now.
“We will reallocate the financial resources to the clubs as soon as we obtain them,” said Bertrand Mahé, who is a collaborator in Congo’s professionalization initiative.

These benefits are not without a cost.A team has to fulfill a number of prerequisites and standards set out by Fecofoot in order to be eligible to vote. Thirty players will be qualified by each club. These athletes need to have contracts in place and be paid on a monthly basis.The threshold or minimum compensation that a club should pay a player will be decided by a commission. In order for the players to get a pension at the conclusion of their careers, they will also need to be registered with the social security system, says Jean Guy Blaise Mayolas.

Observing the club’s operations

a precautionary measure, considering that, for example, only four of the fourteen teams could defend their use of the federation’s allotted subsidy during the previous season. The partners that will be traveling with us are in charge of overseeing this transitional phase. We will not be giving this money out without security. Fecofoot’s top player cautioned, “We want to take precautions to avoid throwing money into a bottomless barrel.”

For the teams, this declaration is everything but bad news.

“It’s a great beginning toward figuring out a way, or a way to get additional sponsors to fund our soccer. Thus, the federation’s reorganization is a positive thing, says Éric Mantot, head of V Club Mokanda de Pointe-Noire’s soccer division.

He continues, however, “It’s far from enough.Our current circumstances need us to have at least 60 million CFA francs annually.The majority of these teams are older than forty, and the clubs don’t have synthetic fields. This grant will support the improved development, equipment, and training of young athletes. In addition to receiving compensation and training, young people also need the establishment of the essential infrastructure. This implies that clubs must, above all, adopt a new perspective.

As far as the Vert-Noir are concerned, we’re already prepared in certain ways. It seems that they are already in combat order to adjust to the new circumstances. For instance, we have a local headquarters in Brazzaville and a national headquarters right here in Pointe-Noire.

We also do training sessions at our own stadium. The players have already signed contracts, and we’re planning to make certain adjustments to make it more enjoyable,” says Daniel Missama, general secretary of V Club Mokanda.

This is a reform, or rather a revolution, that may reunite Congo with its magnificent history of the 1970s and 1980s and rouse its numerous talents from their sleep with a hearty dose of good governance (sharp sanctions).


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