Speech By President James A Michel For The Opening Of The 8th Extraordinary Confederation Of African Football General Assembly September 3, 2012 Seychelles

Mon, 10 September 2012

September 3, 2012

Your Excellency Mr President of FIFA, Mr Sepp Blatter,
Excellence Monsieur le Président de la CAF, Mr Issa Hayatou,
CAF Vice-President, Mr Suketu Patel,
Seychelles Football Federation Chairman, Mr Joel Decommarmond,
Conference delegates,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seychelles and football share a long association. Football is a passion shared by all Seychellois, myself included. We love the sport – the noblest of all sports, it has been said. We love and practise it for many reasons: the discipline that it instills; the rigours of the training that hone the mind and the body; the community spirit that it inspires; the competitivity that it draws upon; the healthy living that motivates it …

We share the same passion and the same love for this noblest of sports. That is why we are gathered here today.

Your congress is a celebration of football. We – the smallest nation in Africa, and amongst the smallest footballing-nations in the world – are happy to welcome you.

Small we may be, with a population of under 90,000 inhabitants and 2,000 registered players, but our determination to succeed is what stands us out amongst the rest. This is what we call the Creole Spirit! The indomitable spirit!

Mr President of FIFA,
Monsieur le Président de la CAF,
Mesdames, Messieurs,
It is a privilege for me, as Patron of the Seychelles Football Federation, to welcome you to Seychelles for this African Football Confederation (CAF) Extraordinary General Assembly.
This is the largest gathering of high-ranking sports officials on our shores. We are glad to host you. Do please enjoy our Creole hospitality.

A special mention must be made of our own compatriot, Suketu Patel, former chairman of the Seychelles Football Federation and currently CAF’s first Vice-President for his vision in helping to bring this important event to our country.  Thank you, Suketu. We are proud of you and wish you well.

Je souhaite la bienvenue à tous les délégués participant à cette Conférence de la Confédération Africaine de Football. Je voudrais particulièrement exprimer mes chaleureux mots de bienvenue au Président de la Fédération Internationale de Football Association, Monsieur Sepp Blatter, au Président de la CAF, Monsieur Issa Hayatou, sans oublier le Vice président de la CAF, notre compatriote, Monsieur Suketu Patel.

Grâce à votre soutien infatigable, le football seychellois a su se développer de manière remarquable. Nous devons nos infrastructures de première classe à l’assistance de la CAF et de la FIFA. Encore grâce à vous, les jeunes Seychellois découvrent la beauté de ce sport  populaire qu’est le football dès leur plus jeune âge.
Je sais que vous avez un emploi du temps très chargé. Mais j’espère quand même que vous allez prendre le temps d’apprécier la beauté de nos îles et le sens d’accueil et la joie de vivre du peuple Seychellois.

Ladies and gentlemen,
This CAF Extraordinary General Assembly starting today, culminates the series of meetings the different CAF committees have had here over the past few days. I am sure that the various recommendations and resolutions from those meetings which the Assembly will consider, will further assist in propagating football throughout our continent.
And when I think of football, I think of the youth – especially our children. When children play football they learn discipline and how to get along with others. They make friends; build their self esteem, self confidence and pride. Football players develop a team attitude and become protective of each other. They care about the other team members and look out for them in other areas of life besides football.

In short, football and other team sports, can help our children become the exemplary citizens that we want them to be and create that healthy, caring and loving society that we all aspire to.
I would like, here, to pay special tribute to the excellent cooperation that exists between the SFF and, through it, FIFA and the Government. The Government makes available land for all the FIFA project and the SFF receives an annual budget from Government through the National Sports Council (NSC) to finance its nine league competitions on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
Since the establishment of the Seychelles Football Federation in 1979, gigantic steps have been made in the development of football in our country.  Affiliation to CAF and FIFA in 1986 gave this development a further boost.

Although we have yet to qualify for the African Cup of Nations finals or compete on equal terms with teams from the African mainland we are now able to hold our own against our opponents from the region. After striving for over three decades to conquer the Indian Ocean Region we finally struck Gold in the last edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games held on home soil last year.

With all the proper infrastructure in place and a team of dedicated people at the helm, we are very much advanced in terms of FIFA Goal projects where we are about to embark on the fifth one - the Futsal. The future looks bright!

Messieurs les Présidents,
Dear delegates,

As you may have observed, despite being a small country, we have a great determination to succeed. It is this and the special feel of our islands that make us unique and set us apart from the rest of the world. I hope that you will carry back with you happy memories of Seychelles. They should prompt you to come back to our shores again, with your families.

I wish you all the very best in your deliberations.  More importantly, I wish that football bring peace to our continent !

I thank you.

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