Elected to the head of the AAFAAM, on Saturday February 24, 2018, at the headquarters of the CNACO, Adel Benjamin, the new president of the friendly former footballers and other athletes of the ASEC Mimosas, tells us about his plans for this structure. Interview.
-If you have to introduce yourself to our readers, what would you say to them, Mr. President?
-My name is Adel Benjamin. I am a former footballer of the ASEC Mimosas of which I wore the Jersey from 1971 to 1976. My father Adel Alphonse was also a player of the ASEC Mimosas in the 1950s. I won the first edition of the FHB Cup with the ASEC Mimosas, in 1975, in Dimbokro, facing the Stella Club that we beat 4-3. And it was I who had offered the ball of the goal of victory to FOFANA Abdoulaye. I also won three Ivory Coast champion titles with ASEC Mimosas in 1973, 1974 and 1975. I participated in two African Champions Clubs ‘ Cup campaigns in 1974 and 1975. On the professional level, I am a lawyer of training. I was the head of the administrative department of a large insurance company of the place. I made my retirement rights in 2010.
-How did you arrive at the ASEC Mimosas?
-I signed up for the club in 1971. I used to operate at the Stella Club in Abidjan. It was after the final of the National Cup of 1970, ‘ at Stade FHB, who had seen the ASEC Mimosas beat (2-1) The Stella Club that I was recruited by the ASEC Mimosas. In this final, I was the one who scored the only goal of the Stella Club. It was on that day that the Minister M’BAHIA BLÉ Kouadio noticed me and asked Laurent POKOU to bring me to the club.
-Since when did you become a member of the AAFAAM?
-It is since 1990 that I was part of the AAFAAM thanks to the late Ignace WOGNIN, who had asked me to be a member. He had co-opted me to assist as Deputy Treasurer General Dean AKRÉ Ignace who was ill.
-You have recently been elected president of the friendly former footballers and other athletes of the ASEC Mimosas. What motivated you to run for the job?
-I specify that since 1990 I am a member of all the executive offices of the AAFAAM. I know our friendly and its members well. I always felt like I could run it. But it was only a matter of availability. My professional occupations did not allow me. Now that I am retired, I feel that I have enough time for that
-What do you think you can bring to the AAFAAM?
-With regard to the ambitions of the PCA, Roger OUÉGNIN, for our friendly, the shipyard is immense. The AAFAAM has already gained. Its existence is in itself, a very good thing. This allows us former footballers and other athletes of the club to find us to exchange and to support us in all circumstances. Now we need to make it more dynamic by bringing its members to understand its objectives.
-Could you be more specific?
-The PCA, Roger OUÉGNIN, repeats it to each meeting. The AAFAAM must develop the feeling and pride of belonging to the family of the ASEC Mimosas through values such as true and sincere friendship, Union, solidarity and mutual aid. It is these values that will allow our friendly to grow and attract many new members. We’re on the right track. We have just had an internal regulation. I intend to equip the AAFAAM with a code of good conduct that its members will have to observe in order to achieve the objectives that President Roger OUÉGNIN has set us.
-In clear you will raise awareness, mobilize and involve the elders and new members in the life of the AAFAAM. How do you plan to meet this challenge?
-With the support of all my comrades of the friendly. This is possible with the membership of all and I will use it.
-Is it necessary to believe that things are well committed since it was by consensus that you were elected?
-We are a friendly. We have to avoid all kinds of divisions. That is why the Committee of Wise Men we set up has been working to organize a consensus election, as the PCA wished, Roger OUÉGNIN. And thank God everyone has shown wisdom. The other candidate, Mr N’GUESSAN Bernard, whom I salute here for his fair-play spirit, decided to retire when the Committee of Wise Men asked him after examining the eligibility criteria for the presidency of our friendly. I note with great pleasure and admiration that in the AAFAAM, the younger ones are very respectful of the older ones. When the elders decide, the younger ones accept. In view of this, I think like you that the AAFAAM is a good party to become a true and great structure of mutual aid and solidarity within which a great fraternity and a true friendship reign.
-There is also the fact that the board of Directors of the club will not only grant an annual subsidy to the AAFAAM, but also help 50 people who do not have the means to pay their membership fee which costs 5000f CFA. Is it not also a great support for the success of your mandate?
Absolutely. We thank President Roger OUÉGNIN and the board of Directors of the club that he is leading for these great supports that they bring to us. But this will also require a lot of awareness on our part to collect the monthly membership dues because it would not be necessary for comrades to say that with the financial support of the Board of directors, they no longer need to Pay their monthly dues.
-One of your sites will be to bring the footballers and other athletes of the active club to join the AAFAAM?
-It is true and it will be very good for these young people to become members of our friendly to be supported in case of difficulty.
-What did you feel when George Bernard and MOH Emmanuel visited the CNACO in your election on February 24th to greet the spirit of the AAFAAM?
-I confess that I felt great pride in hearing these two great players of the rival club recognize that the ASEC Mimosas, in its organization at all levels, is a model of sport institution in Côte d’ivoire and Africa.
-What could you say to close this interview?
-My end word is to see a spirit of brotherhood, solidarity and self-help develop within the AAFAAM as President Roger OUÉGNIN regularly asks me to salute for the remarkable work he continues to do at the helm of the ASEC Mimosas. God grant him an iron health as well as all the members of his family and give him the means to continue to build our club. I can assure him of the unconditional support of the AAFAAM in all the projects he will initiate.