FIFA picks Okocha, Amuneke, Drogba, others to determine football’s future

By Jesusegun Alagbe

FIFA has selected a group of top footballers and coaches from six continents to join FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger this week, as part of the ongoing consultation process on the future of global football.

Those selected from Africa include Nigeria’s Jay-Jay Okocha and Emmanuel Amuneke, and Côte d’Ivoire’s Didier Drogba, FIFA said in a statement on Tuesday titled, ‘Future of men’s football consultation continues.’

Those selected have over 3,000 international appearances and more than 300 World Cup matches between them, and will be meeting during the week in Doha, Qatar, the football body said.

FIFA said , “The group is part of a new Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the future of men’s football, which is providing FIFA with direct insight and experiences from professional footballers and coaches from across the spectrum of the international game with an aggregate of over 3,000 international appearances and more than 300 FIFA World Cup matches between them, in order to discuss potential alternatives to the current organisation of the men’s game with an emphasis on making football truly global and giving every talent and every region a chance.

“Those assembling in person in Doha, Qatar, for a two-day exchange include Ali Al-Habsi (Oman), Emmanuel Amuneke (Nigeria), Jared Borgetti (Mexico), Tim Cahill (Australia), Youri Djorkaeff (France), Avram Grant (Israel), Sami Khedira (Germany), Alexi Lalas (USA), Marco Materazzi (Italy), Ryan Nelsen (New Zealand), Nuno Gomes (Portugal), Roberto Carlos (Brazil), Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima (Brazil), Mikaël Silvestre (France), Peter Schmeichel (Denmark), David Suazo (Honduras), David Trezeguet (France) and Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina).

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“Other members of the TAG on men’s football include Sami Al-Jaber (Saudi Arabia), Alessandro Altobelli (Italy), Iván Córdoba (Colombia), Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire), Gelson Fernandes (Switzerland), Geremi Njitap (Cameroon), Mustapha Hadji (Morocco), Keisuke Honda (Japan), Júlio César (Brazil), Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany), Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Lothar Matthäus (Germany), Faryd Mondragón (Colombia), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Michael Owen (England), John Terry (England), Yaya Touré (Côte d’Ivoire), Marco van Basten (Netherlands), Antonio Valencia (Ecuador) and Javier Zanetti (Argentina).”

FIFA said additional players and coaches would be included during the consultation process, adding that so far, more than 80 current and former players and coaches had been consulted.

It said, “In line with decisions made at this year’s FIFA Congress, FIFA is conducting a wide-ranging consultation across football in order to reflect on the future of global football and assess options for changes to the international match calendars.

“Further meetings with other stakeholder groups, together with other assessments in relation to the future direction of women’s and youth football, are also planned, and in parallel, a study is being conducted on a range of aspects related to football competitions.”

FIFA added that a Technical Advisory Group on the future of women’s football had been created and would be led by the double FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis.

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