Saturday 13 May 2023, 09:00

FIFA Talent Development Scheme takes step forward in Algiers

  • Africa’s first FIFA Knowledge Exchange workshop took place in Algiers from 29 April to 4 May 2023 during the U-17 AFCON

  • Knowledge and experiences related to elite youth development were shared to help create more competitive national teams

  • Eight member associations (MAs) from across Africa attended with the objective of creating a long-term talent development plan to ‘give every talent a chance’.

The main objective of the FIFA Talent Development Scheme (TDS) is to help raise the standards of men and women’s national-team football based on FIFA’s long-term commitment to global talent development.

In December 2022, the FIFA Council approved a funding allocation of USD 200 million to cover the 2023-2026 operational lifecycle of this flagship initiative.

FIFA’s TDS is now entering the full implementation phase with Knowledge Exchange as one of its four pillars. With the support of CAF and the Algerian Football Association, the Algerian capital Algiers staged the first Knowledge Exchange workshop in Africa. Hosted during the prestigious CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, it provided an opportunity for delegates to see some of the continent’s best youth talent on an international stage. Held at the Hyatt Regency Airport Hotel from 29 April to 4 May, the workshop brought together eight member associations from across Africa, namely: Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Zambia, Ghana and South Africa.

Exclusive to MAs endorsed by the TDS and who met the exacting selection criteria, these six-day workshops (held once a year in each confederation) are designed to bring together the three key officials from each MA with responsibility for elite youth talent development: the General Secretary, the Technical Director, and the Director of High Performance or the person responsible for national youth teams.

The workshop was designed and delivered by the FIFA TDS and Technical leadership teams with the aim of enabling key members from each MA to share knowledge, combat regional challenges, and explore the leadership capabilities required to accelerate the implementation of the TDS.

FIFA’s Head of High Performance Programmes, Ulf Schott

Speaking to, FIFA’s Head of High Performance Programmes, Ulf Schott, said, “The Talent Development Scheme (TDS) isn’t an isolated programme. It’s led by Arsene Wenger, and it’s connected to FIFA Forward 3.0. The aim of this workshop is for each member association to develop a long-term plan based on their specific needs, identifying what they want to achieve and the obstacles currently preventing them from doing so. Based on this, they can then determine what’s required to achieve results with their national team.”

“We analysed the performance of more than 200 member associations in terms of their national teams, tournaments, talent identification, education, resources and academies. It’s clear that each country has its own individual needs. Our experts and like-minded partners understand the situation in each country, and we will make the necessary decisions based on their advice.”


During the six-day workshop, the delegates discussed and shared their thoughts on what is needed in their country to support its elite youth environment to enhance the competitiveness of their national teams. They also discussed how a well-structured and fully endorsed long-term talent development plan can underpin such success in the future. Among the objectives are the implementation of a long-term plan for 150 MAs by the end of 2023, as well as having at least one academy in each country by 2026. The bilateral dialogues between the attending MAs examined:

  • The benefits of creating a long-term player development plan

  • The key components of such a plan, who should be involved, and how it should be implemented and reviewed

  • The priorities of each MA to best support emerging talents in their country

  • How the MA can make the most of the TDS and its programmes to support elite youth talent structures

Cote d'ivoire technical director

The arrival of General Secretaries enhance the debate

Because long-term sustainability and success of sports organisations depends on the alignment of, and collaboration between, technical and business elements, it was crucial that FIFA brought together this key leadership component to create mutual understanding and buy-in to the importance of investment in elite youth development. This is why the general secretaries were invited to attend the workshop, since they are the basis for any material or logistical support that can be provided on the technical side to achieve success in talent development.The following points were discussed:

  • Bilateral dialogue between the MAs on what the ideal relationship between the General Secretary and the Technical Director should be like

  • The challenges that are faced in having that ideal relationship

  • How these challenges could be overcome

  • Côte d’Ivoire shared their plans to collectively use Talent Development plans to support their elite youth programmes, from coach education to talent identification.

Senegal technical director in the TDS workshop

MAs sharing insights

The workshop was designed with four key themes in mind; the importance of international youth competitions, creating a long-term talent development plan, considerations for talent identification, and creating the best environments to implement a successful coach education pathway. Each MA shared insights on these key themes on how they might work in reality.

Attendees from CAF spoke on the importance of elite international youth tournaments for the future of African football. Morocco’s representatives highlighted the crucial impact of long-term planning. Algeria’s delegates demonstrated their approach to talent identification. South Africa shared how they have integrated the TDS into their women’s youth national team programme. Senegal discussed their approach to coach education, while Zambia explained how they engage with their academies.

Creating an impactful action plan

By the end of the workshop, participants had the opportunity to work collaboratively on talent development themes specific to their needs and create an action plan to boost their Talent Development plan’s strategic objectives. Additionally, with the support and integration of FIFA’s Technical Leadership team, each MA had the opportunity to describe, reflect and speculate on how they would operate effectively and efficiently as a leadership team.

On the final day, the participants discussed and focused on:

  • TDS action plan for the next four years

  • The budget required by each MA to implement the action plan and whether it would be supported by the MA, a sponsor or by FIFA

  • The next steps required