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Thu. 12 October 2017

The Senegalese Association of Sports Managers: An example of vitality and success

The Senegalese Association of Sports Managers (ASMAS), founded in 2009, brings together all the alumni of the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme in Sports Management organised in cooperation with Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar (UCAD), through the Higher National Institute for Education and Sport (INSEPS). It also plays an increasingly significant role on the Senegalese sports scene.

For the 10th anniversary of the UCAD/CIES partnership, the Association officers provide an overview of the many achievements of ASMAS and tell us here about some of their projects. An example well worth following!

What are the main objectives of ASMAS?

The Association has identified several objectives. In particular, these include improving the knowledge and skills of its members in all fields of sport through training and education; involvement of managers in the various sports entities in our country; implementing and developing strong professional sport in Senegal; the creation of sports entities (federations, leagues, clubs) with modern, organised and economically viable management methods; assistance and consultancy with Senegalese sports federations and, finally, the emergence of a genuine sports policy at both central and local government levels.

What role does ASMAS play in the Senegalese sport environment?

ASMAS plays a significant and pioneering role in the professionalization process in Senegalese sport. More specifically, the panels organised by the association have become a recognised brand on the sports scene in our country and have established our association among the leading sports organisations in Senegal.

Can you give us an example of a particularly successful panel?

We could mention the panel organised in 2012 concerning “issues related to legal texts governing sport in Senegal and their inadequacy”. This was a major contribution by ASMAS towards the modernisation of Senegalese sport. In fact, this panel established the foundations of reformed texts through the creation of a reform committee, and through which our association was represented by our President. That contribution allowed the committee to obtain official recognition for the profession of “sports manager”. 

And ASMAS is also involved in other activities…

Yes, we have participated in major events such as the 7th edition of the Africa International Sports Convention (CISA); the international Conference on strategic use of intellectual property to promote development of the sports industry in Africa organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Senegalese Sports Ministry; or the national Forum on the contribution of the sports sector to economic growth and job creation for young people organised by the Senegalese government.

Moreover, ASMAS is associated with all national sports projects in Senegal. We also have a continuing education project for our members on specific themes, in particular on “sport and safety” (a topical issue after the Mbour stadium tragedy) and “management of sports infrastructures”.

Does ASMAS take part in the organisation of sports competitions?

Yes, ASMAS is involved in organising major sports events in Senegal. The African U20 and U23 Championships in 2015 as well as the Dakar International Marathon in April 2017 are recent examples.

What relationships has ASMAS established with the main sports entities in Senegal?

ASMAS has excellent working relationships with the major entities. These include the Sports Ministry, the National Olympic Committee, the sports federations, the leagues and the clubs. These entities very often use our services, due to the expertise of our members and the fact that they are trained in modern sport management methods. These entities now understand that our association offers qualified, available and committed staff, eager to meet the challenges related to the development of sport in Senegal and in Africa.

What is the importance of the UCAD/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme for Senegalese sport and for sport in the sub-region as a whole?

The UCAD/FIFA/CIES Executive Certificate has made a significant contribution to Senegalese sport. Today, all sport stakeholders are convinced of the essential importance of Programme alumni in the modernisation and professionalization process within national sport. This is shown by the fact that the Sports Ministry has implemented a policy to include our members in the different federations. Similarly, all the other sports organisations in our country rely on the expertise of our members in sports management. The same applies to a number of private entities. 

Do you have some success stories to tell us concerning UCAD/FIFA/CIES alumni?

Our members have been successful in all fields of sport. This includes roles such as membership of the executive committee of the Senegalese Football Federation, membership of the board of the International Fair Play Committee, vice-president of the International University Sports Federation, president of the Senegalese Triathlon Federation, vice-president of the Senegalese Volleyball Federation, membership of the Executive Committee of the African Triathlon Federation, treasurer of the Senegalese Rugby Federation and advisor to the Senegalese Tennis Federation. In addition, we have a dozen or so other UCAD/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme alumni in various operational positions within sports entities in our country. This is also true of our African colleagues who hold similar positions in their respective countries.

How do you see the future for both ASMAS and also the UCAD/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme?

Without a doubt, ASMAS must continue to play a pioneering role in the professionalization process and establish its position by making proposals for major qualitative change at all levels of sport management in Senegal and Africa. In that regard, the UCAD/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme is more necessary than ever to support national and continental sport in its quest for excellence, and also to achieve economic and sporting success.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges facing Senegalese/African sport?

Without attempting to be exhaustive, we could mention staff education and training at all levels (managers, executives, technicians, athletes), the creation of suitable and well-managed sporting infrastructure, the fight to tackle fraud related to the age of athletes, safety issues, and the fight to tackle scourges such as corruption and betting which are a threat to the fairness in sport.

What wish - whether or not it is realistic - do you want to make for sport in Senegal?

We would like to change the organisation and management methods of sport. Sport is a field in which harmonious and controlled development will have a positive impact in all sectors of social and economic life. Africa has genuine potential. If this potential is well used, the continent will enjoy the benefits of sport, for the good of all. This should lead to the emergence of a genuine sports market in Senegal and in Africa. Let’s hope this is not wishful thinking!

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