In an effort to elevate the standards of football across the African continent, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) recently organized a three-day workshop aimed at strengthening the implementation of the CAF Club Licensing System.

The Namibia Football Association (NFA) was represented by NFA Club Licensing Manager, Mathew Haikali; First Instance Body Chairperson, Julian Guiseb, and Appeal Body Chairperson David De Klerk.

The workshop emphasized CAF’s commitment to fostering professionalism both on and off the field.

At the heart of the workshop was CAF’s drive towards professionalization, ensuring that consistent standards are upheld throughout African football associations. The focal point of discussion was the status of implementing the CAF Club Licensing System in national competitions of Member Associations such as the NFA.

With the looming deadline for clubs’ engagement in the CAF Inter-club competitions for the 2024-25 season, the workshop placed significant emphasis on ensuring that Member Associations are equipped to communicate licensing decisions promptly.

A crucial aspect of the workshop was the thorough review and refresher session on stadium pre-inspection procedures. Participants, particularly Club Licensing Managers (CLM), underwent practical on-site stadium inspection training, utilizing the CAF Licensing Online Platform (CLOP), specifically the stadium module.

Integral to the workshop was the comprehensive examination of the five mandatory criteria – Sporting, Infrastructure, Personnel and Administrative, Financial, and Legal – outlined by CAF.

These criteria serve as the bedrock for assessing the readiness of clubs participating in both domestic and continental competitions.

During the official opening ceremony, Ethiopian Football Federation President and CAF Executive Committee Member, Mr. Esayas Jira, hailed CAF’s initiative as a pivotal moment in African football’s developmental journey. He emphasized the significance of club licensing in fostering professionalism, integrity, and progress within the football ecosystem.

Reflecting on the workshop, NFA CLM Mathew Haikali highlighted its enlightening nature and reiterated the importance of adherence to CAF’s standards. He emphasized that club owners must implement decisions systematically, as failure to do so could result in sanctions not only for the clubs but also for the associations.

Mr. Haikali’s emphasized that preparation for participation in continental and domestic competitions should not be treated as last-minute endeavors. Instead, a systematic approach is imperative to contribute meaningfully to the development of football within respective countries. He added it will become compulsory in the new season for local clubs to appoint club licensing officers who will be responsible for implementing the club licensing criteria. The deadline for Clubs intending to participate in the CAF intercontinental competition has been set for 12 June 2024 for men competitions and 15 July for women competitions.