Africa: CAF Equips Its Safety and Security Officers

The first retreat for CAF Safety and Security Officers was held on Friday, 23 April 2021 in Douala, Cameroon.

Safety and security are among the most important challenges to overcome during competitions and events organized by CAF. In a context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of safety and security officers becomes more essential in the stadiums. In this light, CAF Safety and Security Department organized the first retreat for its safety and security officers in Douala, Cameroon, with the theme: "Promoting the safety and security of stadiums." The two-day event was opened on Friday 23 April 2021.

The seminar led by Dr. Christian Emeruwa, Head of CAF Safety and Security Department, and Katharina Steinberg, FIFA Safety and Security Manager, has several objectives. The first is to show the importance that CAF as an organization, deals with issues related to safety and security. The meeting also aims to reassess the safety and security strategies adopted last year.

Concerns raised by the participants includes among others, difficult cooperation with local security officials, poor quality of infrastructure, communication, access control and accreditation, and compliance with measures related to the fight against COVID-19. Proposals presented by the working groups formed during the meeting will necessarily improve the work efficiency carried out by CAF safety and security officers in the field.

At the same time, CAF through its safety and security department does not intend to skimp on resources to facilitate the safety and security officers' task. It is committed to providing them with the necessary tools to carry out their critical mission. Dr. Emeruwa announced there would be other training sessions for the various stakeholders. CAF program also provides training of trainers, general coordinators, and match officials. CAF is also considering setting up an initiative to reward its best safety and security officers. Dubbed "The Best CAF Safety and Security Awards", it will honor the CAF Safety and Security Officers (CSSOs) that have best met the Confederation's expectations.

In his opening speech, Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) General Secretary Benjamin Didier Banlock, on behalf of FECAFOOT President and CAF fourth Vice President Seidou Mbombo Njoya underlined the capital role played by officers. CAF hopes this retreat offers keys for the security success during the next Total Africa Cup of Nations, hosted by Cameroon in January-February 2022.

The retreat concludes on Saturday 24 April 2021 with the graduation of around 40 participant officers. They will pay a visit to Japoma Stadium before the program closing session.

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