Mail lost a gem on Saturday 2 September. A legend of the game of football in his country. Legend of African football. A route to a path through which many youngsters trod to get out of Africa to become big stars.

Played for St Etienne, Marseille in France, Valencia in Spain, Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and in Northern America, this man made his international debut at the age of 16.

Salif Keita died at the age of 76 and Africa has lost a true legend.

He was the very first player to win the CAF African Footballer of the Year in 1970. He set up an academy in Mali that produced many big players. And he served as President of the Mali Football Federation for four years (2005-2009).

We celebrate this great man and his life and impact on the game in Africa, commiserating with his family and people whose lives he touched, and echo what one of his closest younger relatives said upon hearing the news of his demise, ‘he was a good man’.

Although gone, the legend of Salif Keita lives on.


The African Football Club and Sports Management Business Group Association (SMBGASSO) have established a pioneer partnership centered on sports education and sports career development/ enhancement

The African Football Club is pleased to announce the signing of a pioneer partnership focused on sports education and sports career development/ enhancement with Sports Management Business Group Association (SMBGASSO). The partnership will focus on markets in Africa, Europe, and elsewhere.

Based in Luxembourg, SMBGASSO’s mission is to promote and support the practice of sport and continued education through sport, by facilitating access to industry professionals, methods, and networks for individuals passionate about sports, athletes, clubs, and institutions’ staff and personnel.

SMBGASSO has established a unique Sports Academy in partnership with LUNEX University, International University of Health, Exercise and Sports and Sports Management Worldwide. LUNEX University is a prominent university based in Luxembourg that focuses on research, science, practice, and lecturing in order to provide a holistic experience for its students on sports, movement, health, and management.

Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW), which is based in Portland, Oregon in the United States, is a global leader in sports business education for over 20 years. SMWW instructors and mentors work for/ have worked for the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), Major League Soccer, FIFA, Major League Baseball, and other major sports leagues and organizations.

The SMBGASSO Sports Academy has designed a distinct program consisting of 7 sports career specializations and a mix of online and in person classes (including international practicum internships, camps, and conferences). The SMBGASSO Sports Academy also offers +70 specialized careers and industry focused courses. The strength of the SMBGASSO Sports Academy is reflected in SMBG’s professional support network of +30,000 alumni in +160 countries worldwide through SMWW.

For the purposes of this partnership, SMBGASSO and The African Football Club will be consolidating their strengths and expertise in showcasing their collective commitment to higher education training and curriculum, specific to sports business and sports careers. The African Football Club, which is part of Football11-11, will also collaborate with its sister company, the African Football Scouts and Coaches Association and its +600 members. This pioneer partnership will be led by Hubert Register II, a former American professional basketball star and President of SMBGASSO, and Captain ‘Tunde Adelakun & Rachel A. Aron of The African Football Club.

This is big. And our aim is to create a freshness in the narrative of sports education in Africa. Stay tuned on our various media outlets to see how it can affect and enhance you!

SMBGASSO’s website:


In many parts of Europe, 11 November is an important day. It marks the day the armistice was signed signalling the end of the First World War.

But we also live in a world where football is a major part. Up to one-tenth of the global population is involved with the game of football as players in one level or the other. And the game of football is about 11 v 11.

So what better date to spread the word and celebrate football, it’s players and support all that the game embraces – a game of 11 v 11 – than the eleventh day of the eleventh month every year. It is why we have decided to honour the football player – past present and future – on 11 November, naming it the International Day of the Football Player ‘n’ Teams.

On the day we remember our players and what they have done to make the game what it is. Many times we tend to focus on the other aspects of the game – the business, the marketing, the politics – and we tend to forget what it all boils down to: a game of 11 v 11.

Our aim is to use 11-11 to uncover areas through which we can make a complete package of our football players, support them where we can, provide them with synergies that will make them fulfilled before, during and after their playing careers. We intend to look out for our players and provide the support they need to make a complete package of them.

But…..there’s something in it for everyone. Players don’t exist independently. A lot of other people’s input go together to make each player what they are. And Football11-11 will, through Projects11-11 and Konsult11-11 promote synergies and collaborations that would raise the bar of creating a mindful football fraternity.

The President and Founder of Football11-11 is Tunde Adelakun, a former football journalist and football coach who has worked with football players over the last 30 years in different capacities and recognises the importance of players in creating a viable ecosystem in society, while also looking after their well-being through Project Mindfare. For more, please check


The African Football Hall of Fame is ready for the next step now. We have had various meetings and exchanges and we have decided that we now want to move into the stage of getting members inducted. We want to recognise and celebrate people who have made us proud in Africa, through football.

What is different with what we will be doing is that the choices of who makes it to the Hall is not from us, but from the generality of the African football family – fans, journalists and everyone connected to the game of football in Africa. Every voice will be heard. Every vote will be relevant in making our choice.


At any single time, we will have TWELVE specially handpicked potential Hall of Famers, nominees selected by our Board of Selectors, for all to see.

Each visitor to our public space (social media channels, our websites and those of our partners) will get a chance to pick THREE out of the TWELVE listed.

The first past the post (targeting the first to get 1,000 votes) will earn Hall of Fame status and we will announce as our next Hall of Famer with a plan to induct such a member.

Such a legend, once they attain the votes that take them from Nominee Status to Hall of Famer, will come off the list of TWELVE into a special section of HALL OF FAMER.

We will then replace such a Hall of Famer’s position on the list of TWELVE with a new Nominee.

So watch out for our first TWELVE coming soon on all our platforms.

For more, please follow our Twitter handle – @africa_fame or send your comments on here.


As soon as the semi-finals were played in the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations, it was as if the scriptwriters were in for a bumper. Everything played into the hands of writers, content creators, scriptwriters.

The background: there was a manager of a very famous football club in England – a global brand with following all over the world in millions. Heavily successful, for many years in the top four of the English football pyramid, highly revered. Liverpool Football Club has been a household name for many years not just in England, but in many other countries and far-flung continents of the world.

European Champions Cup winners multiple times; English First Division/Premier League title champions 20 times – only surpassed by a certain Manchester United team.

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Not only going by history and pedigree, in the present day, the club still plays a scintillating brand of football, and they are close to the top of the ladder in England, only consistently bettered by Manchester City at the moment.

Managed by a respected, animated, technically and tactically savvy, proper German coach who has built a team of players who sometimes look and work like robots in discharging their duties on the pitch, raising their energy levels in the high-pressing game to levels that defy logic oftentimes.

To cut a long story short, two of Liverpool FC’s players were to feature in that final in Yaounde on Sunday 6 February.

Many clubs moaned about the timing of the AFCON. Many European clubs complained about the prospect of losing their players during the crucial winter fixtures of January and part-February. Some had come to accept it and outwardly they grudgingly allowed their players to go with minimum fuss.

Some had to consult their calendars to check when the invitation letters came in for their players and if it was as much as one hour outside the mandated time, were prepared to fight to hold on to their players and not release them.

It was a game we were used to seeing play out time in, time out. The only time it was not necessary was in 2019 when the AFCON of that year was in June/July – when all seasons were on break.

But back it came again in 2022, having suffered a COVID-inspired postponement from its original 2021 date.

In frustration, many coaches, managers, technical/sporting directors…and even agents (they call it ‘intermediaries’ for whatever reason these days) and media personnel had a moan or two about call-ups, depending on what side of the divide each person was. The debate livened up around Christmas time 2021, and it became secret the prayer of many a manager that their players’ nation is knocked out early from the AFCON in Cameroon so he/they can return to help their clubs.

Perhaps the most inflammatory statement was one made by this highly respected, top tactician – coach Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool – where he erroneously labelled the Africa Cup of Nations as a ‘small tournament’ in one of his rants about losing a lot of players to the tournament amid a tight schedule.

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That did not go down well with many – understandably – but it serves as the genesis of this piece.

Because strangely enough, while the loudmouths all had to swallow humble pie and go back to their clubs having posted dismal, discouraging, unlucky, or unsuccessful results, the manager who spoke the loudest, in apparent disrespect and almost a condemnation of our flagship tournament – saw his own players go all the way to the final, and he will not have them for a few days yet after it had all settled down.

Because the result of the semi-finals that I referred to earlier, pitted Sadio Mane of Senegal and his team against Mohamed Salah of Egypt, and it was the fairytale final many had wanted to see.

Pictures of both players went viral globally. It was like the only player Senegal had was Sadio Mane, and the only player Egypt had was Mo Salah. Anywhere the AFCON final was being previewed in the run-up to the day, it was Salah atop the Egypt flag and Mane on the Senegalese flag!

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These two guys though…..class act. I never liked Liverpool FC. Too direct a rival of my beloved Chelsea FC. We have had many exchanges, many controversial games between our two sides – hot-tempered, referee-infused, players’ hotheadedness and close encounters for me to like them. And I am sure majority of their supporters don’t give much of a damn about Chelsea too – so fair’s fair.

But when Chelsea released Mo Salah a few years ago without giving him enough game time to prove himself (Jose!), it was alright until somehow he started playing well in Rome, and somehow Liverpool got him, and he showed what he could have done for us at Stamford Bridge at Anfield. Not only was he generally good, but he also put up some performances against us to remind us of what we at Chelsea missed out on! I hated Liverpool even more.

Today, Mo Salah is arguably the best player in the world. His football intelligence, his close control, quick feet and clinical ability is unequalled over the last few years in world football – consistently.

He went into the Egypt camp like the Messi of old (they are not that much different in height by the way) demanding that he works with his teammates and try as hard as they could, to win an eighth AFCON title with Egypt. After all, has he not had it all? English Premier League, ticked. UEFA Champions League, ticked. World Cup appearance, ticked. Hosted the AFCON in 2019 and were disappointingly dumped out in the round of 16. So 2022 in Cameroon was redemption time, and he believed. Many believed with him as well because lets face it, he was on top of his game. Stats confirm it – 16 goals so far, and the season is only halfway gone!

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But he came up against his clubmate Sadio Mane of Senegal. Playful yet serious, unassuming, skilful but had a barren patch
earlier in the season. No doubting the exceptional talent that he is, though, he comes with pedigree. Leadership, hunger – yes, an amazing hunger for the game that is yet unequalled. Sadio loses possession and he doesn’t look to anyone but himself to get it back! You see from his face that he’s coming at you because he hated losing possession to you. You either hastily give the ball to someone else or he will catch you.

This lad is probably most underrated by the non-Liverpool crowd. But I know he is damn good. Humble, unassuming, passionate, patriotic, philanthropic, and very good at what he does. Sometimes you see the Ronaldo in him, in the way he really wants to get it right at all times and creates no space for weakness or mistakes in himself.

So, only 8 goals this season so far – low by his standards, but no disguising his prowess as a predator in the 18-yard box.

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They squared up on Sunday 6 February – even though they will be back on the Liverpool FC training pitch in a matter of days – they had to put that aside and play for their respective countries.

Mane’s Senegal has had it rough over the years. 1992 they hosted, and couldn’t make an impact at all. Ten years later they got to the final – in 2002, in Mali. They tried hard, but the might of the Cameroonians overpowered them on penalties and it was painful.

Guess who lost the penalty that handed the trophy to Cameroon that day in Bamako! Story for another day.

For years afterwards, Senegal had been hurting. But they have seen their status grow in leaps and bounds, been at the top of the rankings for Africa and in the top 20, top 30 of the FIFA rankings for so many of those 20 years, but the title eluded them.Sadio Mane was a part of the 2019 squad that reached the final of the last edition again in Egypt, but lost to a coy Algerian team.

And Sadio Mane was handed an early chance to calm nerves in the final of the 2022 edition – when he won a penalty in the 5th minute.

Prior to that penalty being taken, his teammate Mo Salah went to whisper something in the ear of his goalkeeper. We all wondered what he said. Could it be that he was saying ‘I know where Sadio will place the penalty….just go there and you’ll save it’.

That penalty was taken by Sadio saved, and it had us all wondering if it was going to be one of those days again for the Lions of Teranga.

But as football always is, Senegal held on. They did not score, but did not concede. Mane showed flashes. Salah showed class, but it all came down to the luck of the draw – penalties. Both Liverpool stars chose to take the fifth and final kick, but with Egypt having lost one earlier on, Mane could seal the win with his, while Salah would not need to take his fifth kick because it would be of no consequence.

Where are we going with this? These two acts…..pride of Africa. We saw the two of them, one at his best, the other at his not-so-good. One won, the other lost. Their results were different but their class remained.

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Congratulations to Senegal on its first ever African triumph. It was well-earned, and well deserved. Not such a small tournament
after all, Herr Klopp. Two of your boys were sister boys in the final – one lost, the other won – narrowly, and you have an African champion in your midst!

Today we can say with pride, that we have our own version of Messi and Ronaldo, only that they have their own identities – they are Salah and Mane – and it is a pity that both of them will not be able to hoist the African flag at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year – one of them will have to stay behind! The irony of football!

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Hurry home guys, and take as long a rest as would allow Chelsea catch you in second place on the Premier League log. As for
goalkeeper Edou Mendy, hurry back – no rest for you!


The Excitement Of AFCON

The draw had glitz, glamour, colour. There were speeches and promises from the politicians. And it was great to see legends of the game…taking part and talking up the chances of their respective countries.

It had been long in coming and sometimes felt like it was never going to happen. Even up until as recently as a few weeks ago, there was talk about Cameroon being stripped of the hosting rights of the games because they won’t be ready. There was talk of a scheme from the upper corridors and how they want to embarrass Cameroon as a nation in taking the hosting from the Central African nation.

Then there was COVID. The seemingly ever present COVID that struck us globally in January 2020, put paid to many events, caused cancellations postponements and rescheduling. It cost lives – many lives. It cost businesses, economies collapsed and sport suffered. It is why AFCON 2021 will actually be played in 2022, and it feels normal.

But with restrictions and conditions, we were able to complete the qualifying program for the AFCON, we were able to organise the draw in Cameroon, and here we go…..the stage is about set.

And finally, it was all about football. And the draw threw up juicy encounters. Finally we will see Africa at its best – hopefully.

The second time we will have a 24-nation AFCON, and for sure it won’t go to form.

No group will be easily won. No team could go there and say they got an ‘easy draw’. There is a derby in each group, a juicy tie or two.

But… being a 24-team tournament means that technically, you can still come third in your group and still go all the way.

It will be exciting, intriguing, and it will be about the teams, the federations and the coaches who have what it takes to be winners.

As for yours truly, I’ve got my work cut out. Won’t be easy. Learning more about the likes of Sudan and Guinea Bissau will be quite a load of fun. Can’t wait to relive the ups and downs of Egypt 2019, hoping there will be even more ups than downs this time – learning from the mistakes of the past and all.

But hey-ho, it will be a spectacular January/February 2022 – one in which new legends will emerge, previously potential legends will come into their own, and coaches, yes coaches will strive to make a name for themselves.

And we will be here – to take part, to be a part of it while also following and reporting on it at the same time.

Note some key games

Group ACameroon v Cape Verde (Cape Verde shocked the world, beating the Cameroonians 3-1 not too long ago)

Group BSenegal v Guinea (this is a derby between two closely matched Francophone West African nations who play a similar pattern)

Group C Morocco v Ghana (Morocco is playing some real good football these days with some choice players but Ghana never lies down to North African opposition)

Group DNigeria v Egypt (Repeat of the opening game of Nigeria’s campaign in Angola 2010 which Egypt won 3-1. Memorable. Another explosive one awaits).

Group EAlgeria v Cote d’Ivoire (Current champions will see the Ivorians as the biggest threat to their long unbeaten streak which might still be in place by January 2022).

Group FTunisia v Mali (The Tunisians are improving but we can not discard the progress of Mali in African football. They have built from the youth level and the results will probably manifest in Cameroon and will give any team a run for their money).

Share with me your thoughts on who might eventually take the title. Will be interesting to know what your thoughts are at this stage, and then revisit it again nearer the time.

Written from a neutral place, by Tunde


The African Champions League is our own flagship competition, It might have a lot of issues when we go into matters like television broadcast, prose money, travel and logistics, feasibility and viability, but point remains….it is what we have, and we must do what we can to show pride and encourage those who still have the wherewithal to remain in it as competitors.
It is not easy.
So when the final of the competition beckons, we have to be excited. Because it is the biggest game in the African football calendar especially for the clubs involved, and their players. 
This year, the final is between South African club Kaizer Chiefs and perennial winners Al Ahly FC of Egypt
Al Ahly won the last edition of the competition last year and it was its ninth time of triumph. Al Ahly has produced many legends in the African game, who shone in this competition over the years. 
Who will forget the legend of Essam El-Hadary, the ageless goalkeeper who had 159 caps for Egypt and featured for Ahly for over 300 games? He played for Egypt till he was the grand age of 45, and even in a World Cup match.
We also remember one of the best midfield players who never bothered to leave the shores of Africa to play – Mohamed Aboutrika, also a legend of Al Ahly.

This is a club where legends are made, and are being handled by someone who was voted not long ago to be the 10th best coach in the world – South African Pitso Mosimane. 
Will he join the increasing band of legends?
Standing in the way of the Egyptian lords is the South African team, Kaizer Chiefs. A team rich in history and tradition with a huge following around the world, it will be a remarkable achievement for them to win the trophy on July 17.
Founded 51 years ago with a huge retinue of triumphs on national and international scene (they won the Africa Cup winners Cup in 2001), Amakhosi must be feeling like their time has come.
They boast former stars and legends in the game like Lucas Radebe and the unforgettable Siphiwe Tshabalala who scored the first ever World Cup goal on African soil in 2010.
The battle line is drawn and the game is on July 17. It is a stage set in Mohamed V Stadium Casablanca, Morocco – a stage where potential legends will be made (or existing legends reconfirmed)!


The first task of the African Football Hall of Fame was to name an advisory board – a selection of like minds who have traversed the continent, covering and knowing more and gathering more information about the game in Africa. Seasoned veterans and active people who live and breathe the game, and behind whom no important information or detail on African football – past or present – will pass. 

The role of the board is to vet and assess the choices made by voters on people worthy of selection to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Through our social media handles and by direct contact, we will entertain polls of the public on who we might have missed out on, and who is worthy of being in the Hall of Fame. These votes and choices will be assessed by our Advisory Board. Our Advisory Board will also be responsible for determine venues of induction events, and will most times be spokespersons for the Project, when the need arises. So who are the members of this esteemed Board? 

Our Pioneer members are:

Tunde AdelakunPresident/Chief Executive of Pride of Africa (incorporating the African Football Hall of Fame)

Osasu Obayiuwana (Nigeria) – a veteran journalist with vast experience working with BBC Sport and an international football commentator

Aliou Goloko(Senegal) – A well known and well travelled media practitioner who has been a part and parcel of the African Football Hall of Fame concept from inception in 2011 

Mark Gleeson(South Africa) – A respected football journalist and commentator. Reputed to have the most complete set of records on African football in existence. The official archivist for African football in FIFA, an asset to the Hall of Fame project.

 Inas Mahzer (Egypt) – Inas is well informed on the past and present of African football. She is the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Al Ahram newspapers in Egypt, as well as the Communications Manager of the Egypt national football team 

Hope Chizuzu(Zimbabwe) – Hope Chizuzu is a multiple award-winning investigative sports journalist who has covered football, cricket, rugby and sports politics with distinction for many years. A strong critic against corruption in football and a strategic communications expert 

Nuhu Adams(Ghana) – Very well travelled football journalist, calls himself the ‘modern Ghana football journalist, very passionate about African football especially the local game – an asset to this project

Usher Komugisha(Uganda) – African Football Journalist who covers the game for SuperSport TV as well as telling sports stories on the continent for Al Jazeera and BBC. Usher is also a Basketball Writer for FIBA. An active globetrotter and the dame of African football coverage. Usher lives and breathes African football.

 Christophe Bongo(DR Congo) – former football player, played for Hannover in Germany and for DR Congo, also a qualified chemical engineer and now a football analyst and a compere. Was part of the group that created the first-ever African Footballer of the Year awards before CAF took it over. Brings a wealth of experience to the table.  

Maher Mezahi(Algeria) – Sports journalist, columnist on France Football Weekly, together with Inas, a depth of experience and knowledge in North African football, but with wider interests in the continent as a whole.

Frank Simon (France) – A French journalist who has been covering African football for 30 years; working for l’Equippe, RFI (Radio France International) and Canal + Afrique; he has travelled the world covering and reporting on African football and has a vast knowledge of the game and its history in Africa. A truly naturalised African with a passion for the sport and well known to many legends of the game.


We had it in 2011, joined up with CAF in 2012 and launched in 2013. It is the African Football Hall of Fame – project designed to keep a mark of honour, fame and recognition to the people who put African football on the global map through their exploits, on and off the field.
Then it went to sleep, for many reasons.
But we are back, and this time, for good!
We are determined to keep the project and to actually award individuals – worthy individuals Hall of Fame status in African football.

These are the words of Founder/Chief Executive of the project, ‘Tunde Adelakun;
“There are so many of us here that can say – African football made us – and we owe it to the practitioners of the game, past and present, to recognise them, and keep their places in history, that generations unborn do not forget them.
“We will celebrate the many players who put African football on the world map. We will recognise and award coaches, referees and administrators who have made Africa proud. And we will keep a place in history for those that always thought Africa first in their dealings in the face of adversity.

“We will conduct programs and activities that will be geared towards ensuring that none of our African pride and heroes will be left alone to go through hard times. And we will also, through the Hall of Fame Foundation, provide avenues for capacity building and infrastructure development for any part of Africa that needs support”.
There is more on this to come. Keep on following.
We are working, committed to the good of the game of football….in Africa!

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