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Experts in Sport: AFCON and football development in Africa

Over recent years, an intense focus has been applied to developing national football teams across the globe. But how have schemes been implemented to ensure the progression of the sport continues and extends beyond the global west?

In this episode of the Experts in Sport podcast, host Martin Foster is joined by Abdul Faisal Chibsah, a High Performance Specialist at FIFA, to discuss the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament (commencing on 13 January) alongside the challenges that African players face when choosing between playing in the world’s major professional leagues, such as the Premier League, and appearing for their country mid-season at AFCON.

Martin and Abdul discuss the social implications of this decision, as well as how the transition across youth to adult teams presents issues for some countries. They then focus on the FIFA talent development scheme and discuss how improving talent identification, training and playing opportunities, will enable players, coaches and countries within Africa to consistently compete at the highest level in world football.

With 205 members of FIFA participating in global research, long-term strategic planning has been utilised to maximise the potential of talent within underrepresented communities. The reach of football is expanding and providing increasing opportunities for development within the sport.

Abdul Faisal Chibsah currently works as a High Performance Specialist at FIFA, having previously studied at the University of Delaware and later working as an assistant coach for the university.

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The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.