AFCON 2019: CAF deserves medal for social media coverage

But this piece is hinged on the 32nd AFCON and how the football governing body deployed social media as a means to galvanize its information flow and maintain / sustain a vibe throughout the tournamen

Social media and news coverage





Social media continues to change dynamics in the coverage of events around the world, more so in a time when speed and accuracy of information in real time is of crucial importance.



From political events through to conferences and natural disasters, the impact of Facebook and Twitter principally cannot be underestimated. Sports is another area that hugely benefits from these platforms.



Two recent events underlined how crucial Twitter especially is to covering sports. The Women’s World Cup in France and the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Egypt.



In the case of the World Cup, particular reference is on the impact that one Twitter user had on information flow from across the cities whiles dishing crucial off-field light information pieces. The person in this case is Fatma Samoura – FIFA General-Secretary.



But this piece is hinged on the 32nd AFCON and how the football governing body deployed social media as a means to galvanize its information flow and maintain / sustain a vibe throughout the tournament.



Even post the tournament, there is a quality amount of mopping up ongoing – with exclusive interviews, behind the scenes shots and crunching of tournament figures.





CAF’s tournament package on social media



CAF’s English Twitter handle (@CAF_Online) and other counterpart languages coordinated an effective use of key facts, match day statistics, pre – during – post match photos and videos.



Photos and videos of the fans in the stands, of training sessions, of reactions before and after the games, match reports, daily rundowns, expectations for particular match days and quick polls especially in the knockout rounds.



More than anything else, the timeliness and accuracy of the information flow made CAF the reference point for many media outlets including us here at Africanews.



The quality of materials – photos, videos – posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; coupled with the witty captioning and couching of information by the administrator (s) captured the attention of soccer fans around the world.



Perhaps as a direct result of the quality engagement and effective communication, CAF’s English Twitter account “run past” the million follower mark during the competition.





The communication blips – minor / major



Amid the coordinated information delivery came slippages – rough tackles if you want. Two of these caught our attention over the period.



A goal was awarded to Ghana in a group fixture and was tweeted same but almost immediately deleted after it was disallowed.





Similar situations were averted especially after the use of Video Assistant Referees, VAR, started at the last eight stage. At that stage, “goals” could be tweeted and afterwards VAR verification could be used to confirm or dismiss them.



The big blip / scandal was in the announcement of a centre referee for the final game between Senegal and Algeria. An announcement on the handle was deemed official for all intents and purposes.



Then less than 24-hours to the game, a new set of referees were announced by the CAF hierarchy. A BBC journalist in Egypt quoted the Djiboutian official who is head of the CAF Referees Commission as confirming that the social media team had put out “fake news.”



“This type of mistake should never happen. But the announcement of Gomes never came from the @CAF_Online Referees Commission.



“We must improve our communication as an organisation. What happened is not acceptable and people have the right to criticise us for this,” Souleyman Waberi is quoted to have said.



In explaining how that came about, it came to light that the social media aspect of the 2019 AFCON had been outsourced and a breach in information flow had caused that situation.





Looking ahead



A number of journalists who covered the tournament hailed the social media coverage as the best for the AFCON in recent times.



But in the spirit of growth and betterment, some key considerations were raised for CAF to consider for future tournaments.



Amongst them, dedicated social media pages for tournaments as this would boost the chances of proper archiving of coverage.



A more interactive aspect of coverage which situation in the case of AFCON 2019 was basically down to voting in polls.



Give and take, Egypt pulled off a historic tourney despite the heartbreak of a round-of-16 exit. CAF can now boast a big reform achievement but in doing so, the social media team behind the tournament are real winners – deserving of a medal.



Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa

Digital journalist

alfa.shaban@africanews.com

@alfaafrican

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Senegalese allege racism in Diack corruption verdict

Dakar residents alleged racism and said Wednesday’s verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

Senegal and the sporting world has been shaken after the former head of the world athletics body, Lamine Diack, was found guilty of corruption by a Paris court.

Residents in Dakar alleged racism and said Wednesday's verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

"As a Senegalese, I think it was an injustice to condemn him. African people are tired because if Lamine Diack was a white person, he would not be sued, arrested," said Cheriphe Toure.

"It is not normal, he is a Senegalese, he is about 80 years old and they want to put him in prison, he is tired. The trial (against Diack) is not a real trial, it's just politics."

Lamine, an 87-year-old Senegalese, was charged for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes to pay bribes to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping after they paid bribes.

Prosecutors said Diack solicited $5.5 million in bribes and paid off other officials at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to help with the cover-up.

The court handed Diack a four-year prison sentence, two years of which are suspended and a fine of $590,000.

He was also ordered to pay €5 million in damages to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) with his son and co-accused, Papa Massata Diack.

From 1999-2015 Diack was the head of the IAAF and was influential in the world of Olympic sports.

Diack's lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

"I think if the law is valid in France, it will be overturned because it's really unfair," Abdoulaye Diagne, Coordinator of the support committee for Lamine Diack.

Africans Marking Football Around the Globe

A brief spotlight on some notable African players making an impact on international football.

Riyad Mahrez, hailing from Algeria - the Manchester City star has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the club’s spokesperson. Although asymptomatic, he is currently self-isolating.

The 29-year old 2016 Best African Player titleholder, is due to begin the Premier League season with the team's first fixture on September 21st. As yet, it is still unclear as to when he contracted the virus and whether he will be able to play.

Ansu Fati, the football prodigy born in Guinea Bissau, broke a 95-year record after only 311 days - as at just 17 years old he has become the youngest ever goal-scorer of the Spanish National Team.

The next Lionel Messi?

He made his historical mark in the winning 4 nil match against Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.

After he became Barcelona’s youngest goalscorer in La Liga last season and the youngest to ever score in the European Champions League, he is viewed by many as the next Lionel Messi.

Cedric Bakambu continues to shine in China. The Congolese striker added a new goal to his 2020 collection a week after scoring 4 goals in a single game.

Despite a 2-goal lead against Wuhan Zall, his team Beijing Guoan had to concede a 2-2 draw. This was thanks to a late equaliser from the other African star of the league, Ivorian striker, Jean Evrard Kouassi.

Drogba’s FIF Presidential Candidacy Bid Rejected

Didier Drogba has been announced unsuccessful at filing a FIF presidential candidacy bid.

Access Denied

International football star, Didier Drogba, received some bad news on Thursday when the Electoral Commission of the Ivorian Soccer Federation (FIF) rejected his candidacy for the presidency of the federation. "The electoral commission (...) rejects the candidacy of Mr. Drogba Tébily Didier Yves Tébily," reads a section of Article 5 of the negative decision of the commission.

Rejected but with the possibility to appeal

This rejection was based on criticisms of the former striker for several eligibility requirement breaches and highlights the challenges the star faced in trying to establish himself within the Ivorian football industry in spite of his international status, athletic track record and personal wealth — and beyond just being a player on the field.

Eligibility Requirements

Drogba, who was partly trained in France and once played for European clubs, Chelsea and Marseille, only managed to obtain sponsorship of two first division clubs — one short of the three required.

Although he does, in fact, have three club sponsors on file, the third technically did not count as it came by way of the vice-president and not the president himself who gave his support to the president of the League, Sory Diabaté (who boasts the support of six Division 1 clubs).

Interest groups also must follow the same rules as each candidate is required to obtain sponsorship of at least one of five in particular. Drogba was unable to garner support from neither the Alumni Association nor the Ivorian Players Association.

Likewise, on file, he did have the support of the association of referees (AMAF). However, it was a similar situation of falling short by a technicality as "the sponsorship" was from a person "who does not have the capacity to legally commit the AMAF," according to the electoral commission.

Public and Peer Opinion

One of the most famous and celebrated public Ivorian personalities, Didier Drogba, has been a treasure to the country's national football team and has received from many of his former teammates and peers such as Eugène Diomande, the Yaya and Kolo Touré brothers, Aruna Dindane and many others.

Many fans and peers still support Drogba

On the other hand, some of his other industry colleagues have shown support for Idriss Diallo, the former 3rd vice-president of the Fif (supported in particular by the current vice-president of the Fif), such as Cyril Domoraud, Bonaventure Kalou or Ahmed Ouattara.
Still more colleagues such as Didier Zokora, Youssouf Fofana and Abdoulaye Traore (known as Ben Badi) supported the president of the League, Sory Diabaté.

The Ivorian football icon has five days to make an appeal to the governing commission.

US Black Pro Athletes Boycott Games to Say #BLM

Pro athletes in the United States are protesting African-American man Jacob black being shot seven times by police while unarmed.

“Black Lives Matter,” a message being reiterated by professional athletes across diverse sports in the United States as stadiums see some players showing visual displays of solidarity while others are refusing to play at all as a form of protest

Basketball games were postponed as the league grappled to handle the player boycotts inspired by the most recent known racially-charged incident of 29-year-old African American Jacob Blake who was shot seven times by police officers in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Bucks led the boycott, opting out of their playoff against the Orlando Magic. The game's governing body, the NBA, later announced in a Tweet that the other matches in the series had been postponed.

Black athletes in the USA stage protest against police brutality

Three major league baseball matches were called off. The Mets clash with Miami Marlins went ahead but one player staged his own protest. Dominic Smith, New York Mets player, tearfully expressed his frustrations, "People still don't care. For this to continuously happen, it just shows just the hate in people's heart. That just sucks. Being a black man in America, it's not easy."

In addition to baseball, even tennis saw half Haitian-American champion Naomi Osaka withdraw from a major tournament to support the movement as more and more athletes use their platforms to fight racial injustice in the country.

A series of events that are reminiscent of the now blackballed American football player, Colin Kaepernick, who took a stand against police brutality against black people in the nation by taking a knee in 2016 — in line with the Black Lives Matter movement.

A dynamic movement birthed in 2013 by three black women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, to combat police brutality taking black lives.

Numerous black people die in incidents of police brutality each year in the USA

The #BLM hashtag has since been revived tenfold on a global scale following the slayings by the police of George Floyd and Breona Taylor in the Spring of 2020 in the United States with protests occurring across the globe demanding an end to racial injustice suffered by black people in every sphere of life.

The recent athlete boycott in the United States in a show of solidarity with the movement is yet another step in the global marathon towards true racial equality.

Fans react as Football star Lionel Messi triggers Barca departure

After nearly two decades with the Spanish giants, Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club.

Some fans are protesting. But these are not the usual protesters you'd find on a political train. They are football lovers gathered outside their favourite club Camp Nou to clamour for their idol to stay.

After nearly two decades with the Spanish giants, Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club.

The club confirmed on Tuesday the Argentine sent a document expressing his desire to activate a release clause that would end his contract.

"The strange thing is that he has not left the club before. It is absolutely disgraceful what this board of directors have been doing since 2010. Even with Sandro Rosell, before the arrival of Bartomeu. They have lost all valuable things at the club. Guardiola, (Johan) Cruyff and now Messi. So this ends with Messi leaving and a shameful 8-2 defeat (against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League)." 25 year old Adria Corchero, a journalist and fan of Messi said.

For Sergi Riera, a 36-year-old restaurant worker, "this cannot just be allowed. Because in the end, Messi is the little happiness that we can have right now. They must do something. They should resign and try to talk to him tomorrow (Wednesday). Anything."

Baracelona have not officially replied yet but are understood to be preparing one.

The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona's humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, one of the worst defeats in the player's career and in the club's history.

The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona - the first without a trophy since 2007-08 - and ignited one of their worst crises ever.

Messi has won a record six Ballon d'Or awards during his time at Barcelona as the top player in the world, and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.

Any club in the world, surely, would jump at the opportunity to recruit the Argentine superstar, but it remains to be seen what club can afford him and where indeed hed love to go.