FIFA president urges African countries to set up professional league

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 10, 2013 07:10 hrs

Gaborone (Bostwana), Feb 10 (IANS) FIFA president Joseph Blatter urged that African countries should improve their professional leagues, so as to maintain young players in their own countries.

Addressing media here Saturday, Blatter has cautioned young Africans against seeking football career opportunities outside the continent as the international arena is saturated with exceptional competitive football talent, reports Xinhua.

"I can tell you that in my country in Switzerland we have a lot of African players who couldn't perform well or were not good enough in England, they couldn't do it France, or in Belgium and then they came to Switzerland. When in Switzerland they are rated good enough but they don't make much money," said Blatter.

He explained that there are thousands of young Africans who try to go to Europe and Asia but it's difficult for them to penetrate the football market as a club cannot field more than eleven players.

"The most important thing is that we have professional leagues to maintain the young players here. At least each player should acquire the first professional contract in their home country so that their future is assured," advised Blatter.

He added that when young football players aged 18 or 19 go to some foreign country they face at least two problems. One being that they are not educated and the other being that they are not competitive enough.

"We agree fully that the government shall help the development of football because finally sport and football is part of the society. It's not only kicking the ball or running, it is a school of life, and it is part of the social culture, part of the economy."

Blatter is on a two-day visit in Botswana starting Friday. His visit is the second of its nature, the first having been in 2002. From Botswana, Blatter is scheduled to go to South Africa where he will watch the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 finals.

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