Jacques Anouma, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee the African Nation
Championship (CHAN) tells about the organization activities regarding
the competition.

Anouma, also President of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) and a member of the
FIFA Executive says one of the major objectives of hosting the competition was for
national reconciliation.
Below are excepts of the interview: “One of the major objectives for hosting the
CHAN was for national reconciliation” says Anouma “One of the aims for hosting CHAN
was for national reconciliation” says Anouma “Hosting CHAN was for national
reconciliation” says Anouma How much has gone into the organization of the maiden
edition of African Nation Championship (CHAN)? The budget for the tournament is a
huge one, close to CFA franc 5.5 billion. We tried not to spend too much, but it is
virtually comparable to the main African Cup of Nations. Our target is to make
everyone have a great stay during the competition and to leave a memorable image
about this country in the minds of all. Initially there were many reports in the
media that Cote D’Ivoire won’t be ready for the tournament, not to talk of meeting
up the deadline. The organization of the tournament started less than 12 months ago
and the result is there for all. We redoubled our efforts in our
quest to meet the deadline before the opening match. I must commend the
contractors, architects and the entire membership of COCHAN for their efforts in
putting things together before the opening ceremony. Are you satisfied with the
conduct of the competition so far? For me I had to challenges, first as Chairman of
the Local Organising Committee (COCHAN) and Chairman of the Ivorian Football
Federation (FIF). Most football fans were expecting our team (Elephants) to go far.
I must admit, our team was not the best and I take responsibility for our lapse. In
terms of organization, I can say we are close to hundred percent satisfaction, and
I am very satisfied with the trend of events. Politically, have you achieved you
goal of using football to reconcile and organizing games in Bouake ? One of the
major objectives for hosting the CHAN was for national reconciliation and most
Ivorians welcomed it. Today, calm has returned to Bouake and you can move around
the city. There is no longer division in the country as all Ivorians are united at
their best. The tournament afforded the opportunity to watch a game at Boauke, and
for the second time, and I saw the two forces working cooperatively. The tournament
has also enhanced business in the city with people trooping in daily. The opening
ceremony was graced by three Presidents and some remarkable creativity display. How
did you succeed in doing that? The presence of Presidents (Faure Nyasingbe – Togo ,
Yayi Boni – Benin and Blaise Campoare – Burkina Faso ) is a mark of solidarity. As
per African tradition, when one country hosts an international event, it gets the
backing and support of all within the region. It is important to note that
President Blaise Campaore was coming to Cote D’Ivoire for the first time since
1999, and it is football has made it possible. The case of Cote D’Ivoire can be
comparable to that of Switzerland , when they co-hosted
Euro 2008. Both teams failed to make it the group stage? The fact that you host a
competition does not automatically guarantee you the title. All teams want to
return to their countries with the trophy just as we had an ambition on keeping it
here. This is not the first competition that a host nation has failed to make it
past the group stage. Even Rwanda could not make it past the group stage during CAF
U-20 Championship last month. Unfortunately for me, I am the Chairman of COCHAN and
President of FIF. Football is developing very fast across Africa and now there are
no minnows. It is very disappointing we failed to qualify to the next stage, but we
have to put in our all to during the final phase of the qualifiers of the 2010
World Cup/African Cup of Nations, which some few days away. I share the
disappointments of Ivorians, but that’s football, full of uncertainties. As
President of the Football Federation, What are you doing improve on your
domestic championship to achieve the goal of the CHAN? We have tried to inject as
mush resources into our local league to make it very competitive. In my view, we
have injected a lot of money into the league and it lies on the clubs to produce
quality players than what we saw in the CHAN. The football association gives about
1 billion CFA Francs, between the premier division to the regional leagues.


News Reporter

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