The Football Foundation for Africa is an international social enterprise that seeks to drive investment in grassroots development in Africa, with the ultimate goal of creating job opportunities. We also aim to protect the foundations of African football, namely talent and passion, through the promotion of better governance of the beautiful game at all levels.
The story of FFA began in January 2015 when Allan “Obama” Onyango lost his life tragically in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A talented footballer and budding IT professional, Allan moved to Tanzania in search of work after failing to secure gainful employment in his native Kenya.
A year later under the leadership of Brian Wesaala, friends and former teammates of Obama organised the inaugural Obama Cup to celebrate their friendship and enjoy what brought them together, football. Following the successful event, Mr Wesaala decided to make Obama Cup an annual tournament that coincided with his visits home. Brian was at the time, based in Geneva, Switzerland, working as an IT professional with the United Nations.
In 2017, Mr Wesaala also decided to make the tournament bigger and use it as a platform to address unemployment among youths, especially targeting amateur footballers, hence the theme Tackling Unemployment through Sport. Brian had noticed that among his peers in football, many were unemployed having focused on pursuing careers in football that never materialised. He set out to use the tournament to assist amateur football to network for employment and business opportunities, enhancing their social capital.
He received generous support for the initiative, which ran under his blog, brianwesaala.com.
After publishing the report of the 2017 edition, the idea of setting up The Football Foundation for Africa (FFA) was born. The goal was to improve amateur/grassroots football in Africa, something that was also informed by the founder’s experience of living, working and playing football in Europe. FFA identified three crucial pillars that would help create a sustainable football industry, education, governance and infrastructure.
Mr Wesaala decided to launch the FFA in 2018, and by coincidence, an opportunity came to organise a tournament in Botswana. The initial plan was to go with the name Obama Cup, but after consulting, the organisers decided to call the tournament FFA Cup with our eyes set on the continent. FFA Cup 2018, therefore, doubled up as the launch of The Football Foundation for Africa.