Benin's largest football academy Cifas shuts down

The famous Centre International de Formation Ajavon Sebastien in Cotonou, Benin folded up this week amid a tense football atmosphere in the west African country

The founder of Benin’s largest and most reputable football academy Sebastien Ajavon has announced the closure of the facility due to financial and political constraints in the middle of an unprecedented crisis in Benin football, which saw the arrest of the FA president on Monday.

The Centre International de Formation Ajavon Sebastien (Cifas), situated 15km from the capital Cotonou will no longer train its hundreds of young footballers or admit new ones.

Many youths midway through their training are now hopeless, while some more who were gearing up to enrol next October will have to go elsewhere or abandon the sport, in a country where such establishments are rare.

Ajavon said he could no longer tolerate the pessimistic future the Benin football crisis was preparing for the country’s youths. And that his investments were being jeopardised by the situation.

Two Football Federations run parallel at the moment in the country, after 12 members from the original body resigned last December to form their executive committee, accusing elected president Anjorin Musharraf of tyranny.

Musharraf was arrested on Monday after being accused of mishandling a sum worth 300 million francs cfa (€459,000) granted to the FBF by a mobile telephone company between the period of 2008 and 2010.

The Benin domestic league is still under suspension. Division 1 and 2 clubs have organised several street protests to remedy the situation, but in vain.