South Africa welcomes FUTURO III
In January, a medical conference was held in South Africa, the host nation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM, as part of the FUTURO III Programme. The sports doctors taking part were instructed on the latest treatment for injuries suffered by footballers and also on how to prevent such injuries.
This medical conference, organized by FIFA, was the first of its kind in Africa even though the continent has benefited from several of the various FUTURO III courses over the years. A seminar on women’s football coaching, for instance, was recently held in South Africa. FIFA offers a wide range of courses through FUTURO III, dealing with issues that are essential to developing football successfully, including administration and management, refereeing, coaching and sport medicine.
While in South Africa, doctors designated by their associations in southern and central Africa were briefed on the latest developments in orthopedic surgery, rehabilitation and injury prevention. The new techniques shown to the participants had been partly developed by F-MARC, FIFA’s Medical Assessment Research Centre, which is seeking solutions to curb injuries in football.
The aim of the medical training proffered by FUTURO III is to promote sport medicines across the African continent, especially with regard to the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM in South Africa. The doctors who undertook this course now belong to a small, international group of highly qualified sports physicians specializing in football.
Dr Joseph Kabungo, Zambia’s national team doctor, is convinced that proper medical care is indispensable for the success of African football. African players have long been admired for their superb technique and athletic prowess but the organizational infrastructure on the on the African continent has all too often been lacking. “The biggest challenge facing us is how best to use our resources,” explains Kabungo. “That begins at the grass-roots in club and goes right up to the national teams. If we can manage to make the most of our potential, African football will be very successful.”
Danny Jordaan, the chairman of the South African Organizing Committee (SAOC), echoed Kabungo’s concerns over the lack of sports physicians in Africa. Jordaan was, however, very optimistic with regard to the African teams’ potential at the next World Cup and urged the doctors present to step up their efforts over the next few years. “One thing that has been proved at recent World Cups is that whoever’s aiming for the title will need a very strong medical team behind them.”