Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (Anoca) elective general assembly |02 June 2021
Antonio Gopal elected board member, zone 7 president
Seychellois Antonio Gopal has been elected a member of the executive board of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa and president of Africa’s zone 7 for a period of four years.
This happened during the elective general assembly of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (Anoca) held in Cairo, Egypt from May 24-25, 2021.
Zone 7 comprises the Comoros, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.
Mr Gopal is the current president of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) which represents both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
He has been a member of the Olympic fraternity since its beginning in Seychelles under the name Seychelles National Olympic Committee (Snoc) since 1979 ‒ the year Seychelles became a member of the IOC. Snoc changed to Socga in March 2007.
Mr Gopal was first elected president in 1992 after serving as an ordinary member on the first Snoc executive committee from 1979 to 1982 and as secretary general on the second from 1982 to 1991. The former athlete competed in the 110m hurdles at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 – the year Seychelles made its first appearance in the biggest multi-sports competition.
Speaking to Sports NATION, Mr Gopal said the task ahead for the zone 7 is to get it properly organised. “We have started by electing a new office which for the past eight years was not done. The secretary general is Ibrahim Mze Mohamed, the new president of the National Olympic Committee of Comoros and Mary Banane of Socga is the treasurer. Mrs Banane was not present at the meeting. However, since the president and treasurer need to be from the same country as it is easier to maintain the finances, secretary general Alain Alcindor was present.”
“Anoca does have money for the different zones. Even though limited, it is enough to organise certain activities like sports events on a smaller scale. We are also going to make a request for past years’ money not spent so that we can do something substantial. We will have other meetings to plan the activities. These meetings could take place in Seychelles or while we have the Commission International de Jeux (CIJ) meetings where Djibouti can be invited as they are not part of the Indian Ocean Islands Games,” added Mr Gopal who holds a Master degree in Business Administration (MBA).
He explained that Anoca has begun moving in the right direction.
“They now have efficient personnel in the secretariat and I was impressed working with them. Recently, I formed part of the team who developped a strategic plan for Anoca which was launched during the general assembly. Our presence on that body is to make sure that we work hard for the benefits of athletes of Africa. We have to ensure that the financial assistance provided by the IOC is properly spent. People forming part of different commissions which deal with matters of sports in Africa come from the zones. Our role is to make sure we make things happen. A lot can be done for athletes in Africa such as trying to retain them so that they can compete for their counties instead of being poached by other countries outside Africa,” said Mr Gopal.
Mr Gopal, who has also served as CIJ president, chief executive of the National Sports Council and managing director of the Seychelles Housing Development Corporation (SHDC), is now the managing director of Gopal Construction.
Meanwhile, Algeria's Mustapha Berraf has been re-elected as president of Anoca after defeating challenger Lydia Nsekera. Mr Berraf, an IOC member who became president in 2018, will serve a second four-year term. He was re-elected with 38 votes as Burundi's Nsekera tallied 15.
Both candidates stood for the position in 2018 too, which ended with Berraf winning by 34 votes to 20. The Algerian succeeded long-serving Ivorian President Lassana Palenfo, who spent 13 years at the helm and was first elected in 2005.
Ahmed Hashim of Sudan was re-elected as the general secretary, defeating Seydina Omar Diagne of Senegal by 29 votes to 24. Sao Tome and Principe's Joao Da Costa Alegre Afonso and Lesotho's Matlohang Moiloa Ramoqopo were elected as first and second vice-presidents respectively unopposed.
Kamal Lahlou of Morocco was elected as third vice-president ahead of Negroes Kgosietsile of Botswana and Julien Minavoa of Benin. Fardouza Egueh of Djibouti was elected as fourth vice-president unopposed.
Nigeria's Habu Gumel was elected by a clear majority as Anoca treasurer in a head-to-head with Togo's Akpaki Kodjo Ogouwa, winning 43 to their opponent's 10.
The other zonal representatives are: Khaled Ezankouli (zone 1), Habib Sissoko (zone 2), Jean Yameogo (zone 3), Asumu Cawan (zone 4), Dr Ashebir Gayo (zone 5), Alfred Foloko (zone 6).