After CAN 2021: let’s not replay the qualifying match outside the green box and get down to business!

Football is a sport of emotion and passion; but it is necessary to be able to dispassionately relate to its leadership, its management, its management and its development.

After a period of hindsight to allow the emotional mercury to sink, it seems essential to us that in any action taken it is necessary to be able to diagnose and analyze the real causes of problems (rather than their effects), accept lessons learned and, above all, ask the right questions and plan for another for the future (CAN 2023, 2025 and 2027).

Indeed, after a brilliant performance at CAN 2021 in Cameroon, despite an unsuccessful qualifying match, the Stallions gave us strong emotions and a certain pride in general. And we should know how to congratulate them and say thank you to the people of Burkina Faso for the sacrifices made on both sides to achieve this honorable result in the difficult times that our country is going through.

“Stallions”, as it seems to us, went to CAN in an atmosphere not the most serene (squabbles between FBF and UNSE, with the establishment [avortée] group of supporters; the confusing situation when the fans left for Cameroon; the controversy surrounding the so-called anti-CAN vote by Sita Sangare, former Fed president; debate about the non-selection of some players, in particular in the case of Brian DABO; injury to Frank Lassin TRAOR; etc).

But it seems, given the results (1 win, 1 draw, 1 match cancellation) obtained in Abu Dhabi, the Stallions had an acceptable technical preparation before the competition. Even though the absence of some players due to Covid, injuries or due to new FIFA conditions for the release of players playing in Europe did not allow some automatisms to be set up. As for the atmosphere inside the Stallions before CAN, it seemed like the desire to make a good CAN was there; even if the technical staff were not in the certain comfort and calmness required to approach a high-level tournament with an “ambitious” goal and a contract that expired immediately after the tournament ended (February 28, 2022).

In general, the Stallions, one of the youngest teams in the tournament, showed above average football at this AFCON. Indeed, a game based on fast transition football and based on good collective animation based on overcoming function and solidarity has prevented more than one team. And we can say that MALO with his team was able to gather a fairly cohesive group, with a competent combination of youth and leaders, and was able to instill in them a team spirit made from a game in which the team is superior to the individual and when the individual puts himself at the service of the team. At the same time, all 9 goals scored by the Stallions were scored by different players. It should also be noted that this group had good tactical discipline and we can be satisfied, especially on a collective level, but also on an individual level (Issa CABORE, Edmond TAPSOBA, Steve IAGO, Hervé COFFI, Blaty TOUR, Adama GUIRA, Cyril BAYALA, Dango UATTARA, Gustavo SANGARE). Even if there are some reservations at the level of certain players due to handicaps, Covid and injuries.

Moreover, we can say that this young team, despite the lack of experience, is full of talent and has a future that can be built in peace and maturation of a winning mood in the future.

But, mind you, this collective dynamics throughout the tournament was shaken by a lack of concentration during 90-95 minutes of play (most goals were scored in the last 20 minutes of matches), naive individual errors in the facts of the game and given situations (corners, free throws, long raises by the opponent ), which caused most of the 10 goals conceded by the Stallions. Also, one of the shortcomings of the team was the youth of the team in managing high-level competitions (1st CAN for the national coach). This was manifested in the complex management of stress and emotions (matches 1/8 and 1/2 finals and classification in particular), the management of the phases and periods of the game (favorable or unfavorable) and substitutions (management of arrival / departure) and the management of staff response at critical moments. In addition, the poor physical condition of some players due to short training, injuries and Covid did not help matters. In addition, the absence of such a striker as Frank Lassina TRAORE was very hampering for us; moreover, the number of used intruders clearly demonstrates this shortcoming.

All that weighed down the beautiful fantastic ride of the Stallions, especially during the qualifying match, and which still crystallizes all the debate, mutual accusations, even insults and verbal violence online and in the media. Even if we can understand the proponents of the moment, newcomers to football (ignorance, emotion and passion are obligatory), this is unacceptable and unacceptable for subtle football connoisseurs, who themselves must have the maturity and hindsight necessary for a critical approach. analyze objectively and learn well the lessons (what worked or not, why and how) so that we humbly ask ourselves questions in order to better move forward.

It also seems mandatory to us, in view of the shortcomings observed during the competition and especially the cacophony after CAN (announcement of non-renewal of the staff contract on terms that are not consistent with the statutory texts of the FBF, according to some COMEX members and football observers Burkina Faso; true-false debate about the history of donations to finance travel of FBF and UNSE members; market management issues in the previous term of office and dismissal – the reinstatement of four COMEX members; confusing situation at the level of the Central Referee Commission; invectives through the media responsible for the king of sports), quickly put the ball and return to the first turn to the basics of football. At the risk of constantly replaying a qualifying match off the field and undermining the gains made.

Indeed, it seems reasonable to us, in the interests of Burkinab football, that we are able to keep reason and use the right balance in our judgments, coldly, sincerely, objectively and with responsibility to analyze the root causes of the Stallions’ shortcomings, and correct it technically, but also and, above all, with in terms of overall management of the FBF (and its environment).

Starting by hushing up our differences and doing the necessary analysis, through a real assessment to be carried out by the technical staff and the National Technical Department (DTN) on the one hand, and on the other hand, the administrative, organizational and financial assessment by the FBF, to learn the right lessons and take appropriate action. In particular, to create favorable conditions for the expression of football at a high level by improving the management of the Fed, cleaning up its environment (leagues, clubs, associations of current and former football players, referees, sports medicine and fans, etc.) and introducing appropriate materials for organizing , planning, implementation and strict control of actions. Because the FBF, in order to achieve convincing results, needs a good foundation to support the legitimate ambition to one day rise to the highest rung of the African podium. To do this, we must know how to use our intellect and our energy wisely, agree to silence our petty quarrels and our harmful differences, and create the conditions necessary (in unison) to achieve results. Because no matter how much we let our ego tug at us, we are at great risk of getting a high price in the future and biting our fingers a few steps away from the coronation approaching us.

Are we not saying that those who know how to look at what made them stumble instead of dwelling on where they fell know how to capitalize and adapt. So, let’s boldly try to correct our technical and tactical shortcomings, and our shortcomings in team management and coaching, to increase the depth of the bench (by doubling the positions) and the ability to effectively manage the psychological and mental aspects. sociable and managerial in our football.

To do this, we must doubt ourselves more than the national team, which is at the center of all debates and which is just the tip of the iceberg, to carry out the necessary reflections and open the real platforms for the construction of elite football worthy of the name, instead of languishing in tensions that sometimes border on with indulgence. And these projects necessarily and urgently involve the renewal and modernization of our sports infrastructure (instead of the insulting paradox of home matches on the street) and the construction of a decent national championship (which has nothing professional yet). league). And for this it is necessary that all players in Burkina football have a high eye, smoke a peace pipe (under the chatter tree) and courageously and serenely reread texts, again outdated, and have the discipline to respect them.

In addition, it seems to us extremely important to provide, methodically and in the long term, the training of leaders in the field of sports management and management (sociology, psychology and sports law, sports leadership and sports results management, ethics and social responsibility of sports organizations, sports). the medicine; technical, amateur, elite and youth coaching; command and change management; communication and management of information systems of sports organizations; arbitration; management, maintenance and security of sports infrastructure and equipment marketing and sports sponsorship; administrative and financial management; creation of economic models for sports projects, etc.). Because, in order to hope to enter and stay forever in the “big leagues”, we must deeply and progressively reinvent our football as a whole, instead of having ambition, often disproportionate, in relation to the state of the collapsing structure. and the dying governance of our clubs, leagues, footballers’ associations and the federal government. Indeed, the real concern is not to face obstacles or to have shortcomings, but to lack the ideas and political will needed to find real solutions to our problems.

And let’s never forget that football, although a game, today plays a public and political role and is a real economic industry. So, let’s put the interests of our football above all else. To besides the passion it evokes, to lay the foundations for an organized, controlled football that develops without emotions, with vision and humility, in a healthy environment and a creative spirit.

Without this, we risk even more frustration among our Ivorian neighbors due to the mismanagement of emotions that have moved from the green box in the qualifying match to the ruling class of our football.

Together we move on.

N. Usman S. Bodo OUEDRAOGO

former football player

Foresight, strategy and project management consultant

[email protected]