The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 2016 CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations and the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
A press release on Thursday by Olawale Alabi, the SWAN Secretary-General, said the MoU was in relation to the competition’s media operations and publicity.
He said the signing ceremony was held at the LOC secretariat in Lagos, with the LOC Chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, and SWAN President Honour Sirawoo signing on behalf of both bodies.
While speaking at the occasion, Akinwunmi said the MoU was conceived towards achieving the stated objective of delivering the competition and making it the best ever held.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the competition is scheduled to open on Dec. 13 at the Eko Atlantic City in Lagos.
Akinwunmi, who is also the First Vice-President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), said the interface through the agreement was a landmark event in institutional relations for the good of the game.
“The agreement entails the guarantee by the LOC of adequate and functional facilities for media and publicity operations while SWAN is to ensure maximum publicity with accurate and real-time reporting of the event to both local and international audience.
“The agreement states that SWAN shall provide adequate and coordinated media coverage of the 2016 AFCON Beach Soccer Tournament and ensure adequate publicity before during and after the tournament.
“It is also to utilise the media to mobilise the public and handle the conduct of pre- and post-match interviews.
“On its part, the LOC shall ensure the provision of access to the on-site media centre for accredited journalists and provide a workroom with desktops, laptops, printers, photocopiers, wireless fidelity (wifi), conference room and mixed zone.
“These will be for interviews, equipment support and other facilities to enhance the work of journalists,” the LOC Chairman said.
He added that the LOC wanted the event to be world-class.
“One of the ways to achieve this is through the media, as well as how the event is packaged and communicated to the public.
“I and my colleagues in the LOC are happy to interface with SWAN in this regard because it is high time we started interfacing properly.
“We must grow our sports and interface in a different way from the past, to ensure accountability, responsibility and mutual respect,” Akinwunmi explained.
“Members of our committee have expressed total support and commitment to the MoU. What we have signed may just be paper but the spirit of the understanding is what is important.
“Over time, this will strengthen institutional relations. We will provide all that is needed by the media to perform. It is a Nigerian project and we expect the media to deliver to project Nigeria as serious and capable.”
In his remarks, the SWAN President noted that the objectives of the association emphasise commitment to not just publicity but also the promotion of sports.
He said in Great Britain, as well as in other top sporting nations, the body of sports journalists work with the organisers of sporting events, sometimes as consultants, to ensure success.
Sirawoo said this was the new direction of SWAN.
“Our objective is to promote our sports and we have started by opening a new vista in creating relationships to drive sports.
“We have journalists who are very knowledgeable and experienced in sports administration and management, following long years of practice and coverage of various events.
“This agreement will give them room to contribute much more,” he said.
The SWAN president said Nigeria’s image needed to be well projected and the National Executive Committee of the association supports this initiative overwhelmingly.
“They (the 2016 CAF Beach Soccer LOC) have asked us to do whatever is possible to ensure that the event is successful.
“We will keep to our bargain and if there are areas that are not captured, we will look at them for mutual understanding and immediate action.”
Sirawoo also asked the LOC to consider the possibility of organising a clinic on beach soccer for journalists in order to enhance the quality of media output on the event.
Head of the Media Sub-committee of the LOC, Nansel Nimyel who expressed his delight at the interaction, also emphasised that the global perception of the event rests on how SWAN discharges the mandate.
“This relationship is a product of a leadership thinking out of the box. It is a win-win for both the LOC and for SWAN.
“SWAN can hold the LOC to accountability to provide requirements for media efficiency at the beach soccer tournament.
“We will provide the basic things with support facilities, including volunteers to help out. We want a seamless operation to project the event as world class.
“How the world sees and perceives the event depends on how the media pushes it out.
“The aim is to give a good impression of the host city, the LOC and Nigeria and, who knows, if we do well, we may have the privilege of hosting the FIFA World Beach Soccer Championship,” he said.