The chief consultant and a senior advisor for Fox Sports Africa, Barry Lambert has admitted that he and his bosses had great reservations about sponsoring the recently held West Africa Football Union Cup of Nations, simply known as WAFU.
According to Barry, it took a great deal of persuasion for FOX Sports to finally decide to sign a long term partnership with WAFU worth USD$24 million.
However, the 2017 WAFU tournament, hosted and won by Ghana, went on successfully and has received great reviews in the aftermath of the competition.
In deed the organization and coverage of the 2017 WAFU tournament has been described as one of the best in recent memory.
Speaking to Ghanaweb.com, the senior advisor who doubles as a TV football commentator said “in all honesty, I didn’t think it would be this good. I knew it could be good and I knew it could be big but I thought it would grow into something bigger, because the powerhouse of African football sits right here in West Africa. So when I spoke to Fox Sports that we need to Africanize the business, they had their doubts and after a while they asked if I think I could do it and I said let’s give it a bash and now see how it turned out. It was phenomenal.”
"To be honest we didn’t think it would be this successful, like every business venture, the bosses had their doubts but I had to convince them that West Africa is the hub of all the football talents that come out of this continent. Now, they are happy and we expect to improve the coverage in the coming years. That is why we signed a long term deal, that way we don’t risk making it attractive and leaving it for others to benefit from it later,” he said
It would be recalled that FOX Networks Group (FNG) entered into a multi-year Partnership that will help develop football in both West Zones A and B. This multi-million-dollar sponsorship package will enable each Zonal Union to host and organize a bi-annual Challenge Cup for Senior National teams with effect from 2017.
This package will also provide our Zonal Unions with the opportunity to organize other competitions for all categories – U-17, U-20, U-23 and Senior National teams (local players only) in every quarter of the year.
Above all, the 12-year-long partnership, is aimed at reawakening WAFU as a body and its competitions. This partnership between FOX Sports and WAFU will witness an investment into infrastructure, training and development of youth, men and women’s football, as well as seminar and capacity-building programmes for referees and other stakeholders in football across the West African sub-region.
Watch the interview below