MARCH 2020
Main Stage Programme
WFS Africa offers a high-quality congress where content is king. In Durban, high-calibre football industry leaders from Africa and overseas will discuss and debate key topics such as the legacy of the FIFA World Cup, digital adaptation, talent development, new competition models, smart investment, the rise of OTT and sponsorship activation.

The legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa

In 2010, South Africa became the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup in a prestigious win for football across the continent. Bringing about a sea change from the grassroots to top tier football in various countries, the World Cup has changed the world-view of Africa completely. Ten years later, now the time has come to evaluate how the tournament was organised and the overall legacy that the world’s biggest football competition has left in the country and the continent – both in terms of infrastructures and tourism development, as well as human capital and know-how.

Keeping Pan-African competitions fresh: reshaping the continent’s game

In a continent with 56 national associations, the Confederation of African Football has always looked to promote the growth of club and national team competitions. In doing so, they are further working on staying updated with the times and the needs of the fans of today. From the Total African Cup of Nations and the CAF Total Champions League to beach soccer and futsal competitions, there is no shortage of amelioration being done by the CAF to renovate the way both fans and athletes approach the game across Africa now. Are these the signs of a new-look CAF?

Implementing digital change: The onset of cutting-edge technology in African football

A continuous cost decline, the penetration of smartphones and tablets into the market, fan-based content creation, availability of transfer market data and the latest refereeing regulations introduced by FIFA have put technology in the world’s spotlight, let alone the continent of Africa. As the world implements technologies like Video Assistant Referee to performance data analysis and broadcasting production, the same opportunities for African football properties and academies to further develop the game across the continent via technology are now limitless. This begs the question, has the onset of digital transformation finally arrived in Africa?

Nature or Nurture: Analysing the success of African players in club football and its fruit for the continent

In the turn of the century, Nigeria and Cameroon became Olympic champions, the first and last from the African continent. Since then, Europe’s top five leagues have seen an exponential growth in the number and visibility of African players such as Mahrez, Mané, Aubameyang and Salah who have catapulted to world stardom. At WFS Africa, industry experts will analyse the factors behind the recent success of African players in club football and what Africa’s national teams at senior level need to improve to challenge top European and South American champions and lift the FIFA World Cup trophy once and for all.

The Development of Youth Football Academies in Africa

The expansion in the number of World Cup participants across 1982-2002 gave top African football players the chance to show their skills on a global scale. This attracted investment from elite European clubs and private African investors to launch a locally based youth academy system. These identified, recruited and developed young talents, often supported by corporate foundations and NGOs. With the growing population, improvement of football facilities, and another major World Cup expansion ahead, it is time to evaluate the role youth football academies have played in development of the models and strategies which are being put in place for the good of African football as a whole.

Leading by example: African Football Legends steer pan-continental development of the game

Despite George Weah still being the only African player to date to win the Ballon d’Or, over the past three decades the football community has enjoyed the rise of world stars such as Roger Milla, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o who have played a big part in the development of the beautiful game in the continent. However, it would be prudent to overlook the magnificent work these African legends have done at the grassroots for both the game and community across the continent. At WFS, industry analysts and players will talk about their playing days and the role sports play in the further socio-economic development of African nations.

Africa’s sporting potential: Building blocks of the global football industry

Football in Africa is a proven force which has provided consistent employment opportunities for economic development of individuals across the continent. Furthermore, African football fans are hugely passionate about the game and follow not only domestic leagues but also top European leagues, cups and global competitions. This signals to be the foundation where building blocks of opportunities arise for various global footballing properties. Their targets should reflect that of increased revenues with regional broadcasting, sponsorship and merchandising deals – for starters. With such a sound potential, is Africa the real foundation for the progress of the global football industry?

Joining the global ‘sportainment’ market: the need for a multidimensional fan engagement approach

Success of a tournament requires the presence of high-level athletic performances, but that’s just the first step. Joining the new entertainment market of today requires a globally accepted product which engages international audiences; and that demands a multidisciplinary plan: gathering knowledge of the different markets globally, identifying the best partners and broadcasters and, of course, a cutting-edge digital strategy. Leaders from the world’s most thriving sport events are in discussion with us at WFS Africa, about the key aspects to succeed in this new playing field and how African competitions can stand up – and stand out – in this global landscape.

The beautiful game as part of Africa’s DNA

Africa is formed by 50+ countries and thousands of different ethnic groups. Despite its culture being varied and manifold, there are a number of uniting elements such as the love for music and dancing, and the passion for constantly celebrating life. This reflects in the way Africans live and express their unmatched passion for football. Understanding and connecting with these specific features is mandatory for any brand aiming to engage fans in this continent. WFS Africa will gather experts from the region’s leading brands to draw insights on the key aspects to succeed in this unique multicultural landscape.

Women’s Football: defeating stereotypes to seize a unique opportunity

The remarkable success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, with a record viewing of 1.12 billion, set a turning point for the women’s game all over the world and opened countless opportunities to grow both the sport and the industry. At WFS Africa, we analyse how football organizations are working to promote equal chances for women across Africa to play the sport with the target to jump onto the unstoppable wave that is the women’s game & build the best strategies to seize excellent opportunities that South Africa’s bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup can provide across the continent.

African Football Challenge: Creating Sustainable Value for Sponsoring Brands

Despite a growing concern about measuring ROI, sponsorship revenue growth is trending worldwide, with the Middle East and Africa accounting for $2.8 billion and 4.3% of the global market – both figures expected to further grow over the coming years. When it comes to football sponsorship however, Africa’s market has a great potential which is currently dominated by oil, banking, telecom, beer and betting brands. Despite this, with various African betting, tech and travel giants having closed sponsorship deals with brands outside the continent, can African football property managers convince sponsors to support their competitions and create sustainable value for sponsoring brands?

The future of broadcasting: content and platforms

Despite the broadcasting industry going through multiple changes recently, football remains the global king of live sports. However, certain national markets have started to show signs of slowing down as the consequence of rise of new actors like sports OTT platforms and social media giants which challenge traditional players who are unable to hold premium property rights. Additionally, broadcasting players are facing a new challenge due to younger audience paying more attention to non-linear content such as highlights, behind the scenes, and content created by the fans themselves. Which is the right formula to attract football fans to subscribe?

Rebuilding the world, one ball at a time: Changing lives through football

The beautiful game is also the world’s most exquisitely powerful social change driver. For decades, NGOs have been leveraging the unique passion Africans have for football to use it as a tool to effectively tackle some of the region’s main challenges. But this is a never-ending match that requires the football industry to team-up in order to win – whatever it takes. With clubs, governing bodies, leagues, organizations and players worldwide becoming increasingly involved in humanitarian activities, we take a look at some of the most interesting projects established in the region and how they are achieving significant changes through the unmatchable power of football.

A decade worth two: The Golden Age of Spanish Football

In 1999, Spain won their first-ever U-20 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria. Many of these junior champions went on to play the final in the Olympic Games against Cameroon, following that by winning their maiden FIFA World Cup in South Africa in 2010 sandwiched between two UEFA EURO titles in 2008 and 2012 with the senior national team. Almost ten years to the date, it took the confluence of a golden generation of players and charismatic football, savvy managers from top LaLiga clubs and the internationally recognised ‘tiki-taka’ style of play to make the Spanish football industry reach new heights – as well as an immortal status in football.

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“I think WFS is a unique event”

Nasser Al Khater – Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar 2022