• Monday Oct 14, 2013

    Inspirational start to CONCACAF Sports Summit


    Key figures in football, business and government from across North and Central America and the Caribbean and beyond will gather in the Cayman Islands next week for a landmark summit under the theme of “Transformation through Partnership”.

    The overall objective of the innovative summit is to enhance the partnership between governments and football federations in order to improve the growth and development of the sport in the region, while expanding sports tourism and social and economic development.

    The event comes as CONCACAF continues its deep process of reform with the aim of empowering all federations across the region, in order to establish a strong foundation for the game that will grow the sport, at all levels, from grassroots to world-class competition level.

    The summit will kick-off with a Gala dinner where delegates will be welcomed by CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb and hear a keynote speech from a man who certainly understands more than most the meaning of the term ‘transformation’.

    South African Tokyo Sexwale was a political prisoner in an isolation cell on Robben Island, where he was held along with Nelson Mandela and other leading figures in the struggle against the country’s apartheid regime.

    Sexwale and other prisoners kept their spirits up by playing football inside the notorious jail and even formed their own football association, known as the Makana FA, with Sexwale as secretary. The Makana FA has since been given “honorary membership” of FIFA.

    The freedom fighters’ love for the game continued following their release from prison and the end of the racist apartheid system. Sexwale was a leading figure in realizing the dream of brining the 2010 FIFA World Cup to a now free and democratic South Africa.

    A revolutionary, a political prisoner, a government minister and a successful businessman, Sexwale’s life has been a story of transformation during a time of great change in his country, in the continent of Africa and across the world.

    The summit participants will be able to gain insight into the lessons that Sexwale can offer from his extraordinary life and draw inspiration from his example as they, along with the football community across CONCACAF, seek to bring about our own changes.

    The packed program of the summit, which will also be addressed by FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter includes a session on ‘Football’s Positive Impact on Society’ looking at success stories where the game has been used as a tool for positive change and ‘Football in Your Economy” featuring Dr. Danny Jordaan, CEO of the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.

    The session ‘Creating Successful Partnerships for the Development of Football’ features The Most Honorable Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Nic Coward, General Secretary of the English Premier League and Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer.

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