Football is such a popular sport that there is no way around government interference. During the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), African authorities use monetary incentives, gadgets, speeches, and public holidays to inspire players to defeat other nations.
The football industry is not a closed system on a global scale. It requires a substantial financial commitment, a stable and functional infrastructure, high standards of integrity, and a strong desire to develop new players and supporters. Any football ecosystem’s long-term success depends on these. Africans were first introduced to football in the 19th century by European colonialists. Historical accounts state that in Africa, a football game was played for the first time in 1862. The game became well-known across the continent in the late 19th century, specifically around 1882, notably among railroads, missionaries, and the military.
In Africa, football has evolved into a very contemporary sport. From the days when coaches had less influence than witch doctors, it has come a long way. Fans in Africa have something to look forward to every season and every two years with the men’s and women’s Africa Cup of Nations, which is held every two years. Meanwhile, government in Africa is the biggest sponsor of national teams. It is also involved in infrastructural. Although, governments mainly use football to promote public order; maintain the health fitness through promotion of the sport; promote the prestige of a community or nation; create and promote a sense of identity and belonging and unity among citizens; reproduce values consistent with dominant ideology in the society; increase support for political leaders and the government; and to promote the economic and social development of the sport in the society. But football success isn’t always correlated with a nation’s or region’s economic performance, so it offers governments a useful platform to motivate people to work hard and maintain discipline even in the face of adversity.
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has started. In an effort to win Africa’s largest football competition, 24 teams from various nations travelled to the Ivory Coast. Senegal was tipped to win the tournament out of all 24 participating countries, but a string of unexpected outcomes has thrown the defending champions around. Both World Cup semi-finals Morocco and Egypt, the previous defeated finalists, who were widely predicted to advance all the way, have been eliminated. The tournament, which was previously scheduled to be held in the summer of 2023, started on January 13 and will end on February 11, 2024, is now officially called AFCON 2023. But the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is already in its quarterfinals, and the first one was played in Abidjan on Friday night, where Nigeria defeated Angola 1-0 to advance.
Football players who represent their countries in international competitions by donning the national colours are often motivated by a sense of pride and honour; nevertheless, the aspiration of African players to excel is far more profound. Players get the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labour when they compete in football competitions like the AFCON. Bonuses in monetary recompense and gift items by government were given to football players in exchange for their private investments and their struggles in the past.
The Ivory Coast national football team (French: Équipe de football de Côte d’Ivoire, recognized as the Côte d’Ivoire by FIFA represents Ivory Coast in men’s international football. Nicknamed the Elephants, the team is managed by the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF). Until 2005, their greatest accomplishment was winning the 1992 African Cup of Nations against Ghana on penalties at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar, Senegal. Their second success came in 2015, again defeating Ghana on penalties in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. The team represents both FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF). The team had their best run between 2006 and 2015 when they qualified for three consecutive FIFA World Cups and won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ivory Coast’s hosting of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will further accelerate the country’s impressive rebound since its civil war ended in 2011, the Ivorian government hopes. By its own admission, the government has invested at least $1 billion on hosting the tournament, having built four new stadiums while renovating two others. Also, the Ivorian government declared a public holiday for students when the country played Nigeria in their second match of the Africa Cup of Nations. According to reports, schools passed this information to parents, as seen by a notice issued by the International English School, Abidjan, while public workers would work half-day. Also, the Cote d’Ivoire government ordered the closure of banks and stores. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast looked on their way out before squeezing through as the last of four best third-placed sides, and retain hope of adding to their continental titles in 1992 and 2015.
In men’s international football, Nigeria is represented by the national football team. They are three-time Africa Cup of Nations champions, with their most recent victory coming in 2013. They are governed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The Nigerian national football team held the best FIFA rating position ever attained by an African football team when it was rated fifth in April 1994. With the exception of the 2006 and 2022 tournaments, the team has qualified for six of the previous eight FIFA World Cups. They have three times advanced to the round of 16. They participated in the 1994 World Cup for the first time. Both FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) recognize the squad as members.
A motivating address was delivered by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu to the Super Eagles prior to their crucial Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal showdown against Angola. President Tinubu had a video interaction with the squad while on a private trip in France, which was posted on his son Seyi Tinubu’s Instagram page. The Super Eagles’ exciting 2-0 victory over Cameroon earlier in the day secured their place in the knockout stages.
High ranking officials from the government also traveled to Ivory Coast to cheer on the Nigerian squad. They are Senator Ned Nwoko, former Minister of Labor and Employment Simon Bako Lalong, and Senate President Godswill Akpabio. Lalong posted on X, saying: “Today, I joined H.E. #SPNigeria Godswill Akpabio on a journey to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to rally behind the Super Eagles of Nigeria as they face Angola in the quarterfinals. The nation stands united in support of the Eagles, and I am confident they will bring pride to us. Go Eagles!”
Lagos is the most populated city in Lagos State, all of Nigeria, and all of Africa. Lagos has an incredible passion for football. The Lagos State government has put in place 20 viewing centres for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. The Special Assistant to Govenor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sports, Mr Damilare Orimoloye, said: “The idea to increase the AFCON viewing centres across Lagos State is in line with the THEME Plus Agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which emphasises social inclusion.’’
According to an agreement between the Nigeria Football Federation and the players, the Super Eagles player might receive approximately $35,000 (more than 42 million Naira) should they win the 2023 AFCON. The players have been informed by NFF President Ibrahim Gusau that the Federal Government of Nigeria has also promised a $5,000 win-bonus per match for each Super Eagles player in the 2023 AFCON. ‘’A draw will fetch a player half that amount, which is $2,500,’’ report said. The Super Eagles will need to win seven matches to be champions of Africa 10 years since their last conquest in South Africa. This payment does not include the percentage of the upgraded $7 Million prize money for the AFCON champions the players will negotiate with the NFF. Additionally, as was the case in 2013, it does not account for the cash gifts that the FGN, as well as numerous state governments, organizations, enterprises, and wealthy individuals, will give to the winning team.
The Angolan Football Federation is in charge of the Angolan national football team, also known as the Seleção nacional de futebol de Angola in Portuguese, which plays men’s international football. Members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA, the team is known by the nickname Palancas Negras, or Black Sable antelopes. In July 2000, Angola’s highest FIFA rating of 45th was achieved. Their most notable achievement was earning a spot in their first-ever World Cup, which took place in 2006.
Prior to their quarterfinal 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) matchup against the Super Eagles of Nigeria last Friday, Angola’s officials and players received material presents and cash incentives to win the match. The Palancas Negras, which thrashed Namibia 3-0 in the Round-of-16 to set up a quarterfinal encounter with Nigeria, were also promised cash gifts if they advanced to the semifinal of the tournament. According to report by Angola Press Agency, Banco Angolano de Investimento, a bank in Angola, announced that it would reward each Angola player and members of coaching staff with the sum of five million Kwanzas (equivalent to approximately N5.41 million).
In addition, Aguinaldo Jaime, the President of the Board of Directors of UNITEL, a private Angolan mobile phone company, also gave an iPhone 15 with free calls, SMS, and internet for a year to every member of the Angolan delegation in Cote d’Ivoire. SODIAM EP has also promised the team a substantial US$250,000 (equivalent to N225 million) if they defeat the Super Eagles. Angola’s fairy-tale debut run comes to an end, but they can hold their heads high after matching some of the continent’s best teams. Nigeria will face the winner of Saturday’s quarter-final between Cape Verde and South Africa for a place in the final. Nigeria edged past Angola 1-0 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals thanks to a first-half goal from Ademola Lookman.