African youths face several challenges when it comes to participating in sports. From lack of access, high cost of sports programs, and gender inequality, it is difficult for young people to develop their skills and reach their full potential.
In Africa, millions of Gen Zers love sport and look up to successful international athletes as a motivation for success.
However, the high cost of sports programs, from registration fees to travel expenses, have made it harder to participate in sports.
Similarly, women and girls are often excluded from sports programs or given fewer opportunities compared to their male counterparts. This is due to deep-rooted cultural beliefs that sport is a male-dominated activity.
Gender inequality in sports is not just limited to access and opportunities, but also extends to issues such as pay and sponsorship deals. Female athletes are often paid less than their male counterparts and are less likely to secure lucrative sponsorship deals, despite achieving similar or even greater levels of success.
In a bid to empower youths across Africa and promote gender equality, FIFA has been working to ensure that football serves as a catalyst for positive change.
This has been highlighted in recent meetings held by the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, with football association leaders from Sierra Leone and Burundi.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop for African member associations in Paris, FIFA’s president said, ‘this will be a football year, this will be a women’s football year, this will be an important year, this will be the year of a new Forward cycle, this will be the year where we really start to make a difference, where we really start to make football truly global.’
Infantino discussed ways to strengthen football in Africa and empower young people through the sport. The need to advocate against gender discrimination and promote women’s football took centre stage.