The Digital Evolution: ICT Enhancing AFCON in 2024.
An older gentleman sat on the roadside curb outside a pub as pedestrians poured through the street. He held a brown-paper news magazine in his hands. It probably smelled like a freshly minted book as he leafed through it. The world, for him, has come to a standstill with tourists pouring into his favourite pub. The radio in the pub was louder than usual as voices rang out in support of teams at the AFCON tournament. The tourists all looked colourful and beautiful with boisterous energy.
The older man pretended to be focused on his newspaper, but he was soaking up the energy of the football-possessed young people milling around with no particular destination. They were all waiting around for when the stadium will be open. His country is hosting the African Cup of Nations. It is a perfect time for his generation to connect with the generation that has vowed to change the world: a generation that no longer reads the newspaper, yet they have all the information. They no longer took herbs, yet they are seldom sick. Beyond the football, the tourists arrived with an unmatched and contagious energy. They are exciting, not just because of the coloured fabrics they wore to represent their countries, but because of the ideas, intelligence and technology they brought with them.
The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), one of the centre-pieces of the continent’s football tournaments, has witnessed significant transformations, both on and off the pitch with the integration of ICT. Digital innovations are elevating the experience of both fans and stakeholders during the AFCON football tournament. It’s a phenomenon the older generation is reluctant to adapt to. They do not think they have the energy to participate in the change.
Where fans now have access to detailed statistics, such as possession percentages, pass completion rates, shot accuracy, shots on target by teams and individual players, etc., which helps to enhance their understanding of the game and their participation in the game as practitioners, older generations prefer to hold on to their transistor radios and accept anything the commentator says as the gospel truth. They live in an old world and have refused to leave it all behind.
But technology has made it harder for them to dwell in that old world.
REAL-TIME MATCH ANALYSIS: The immersive experience of the AFCON makes it so that information is brought to them through their favourite radio or the handheld devices their grandsons love to play with. It’s still a miracle that they can take pictures with those devices to see the wrinkles on their faces as they reminisce on the days when they were handsome to females. The old gentleman looked like he was still trying to be attractive: his brown leather shoes were painstakingly polished, and his brown trousers were ironed with a straight crease. Beyond taking pictures, he could also listen to football commentary or watch football matches.
It’s a fun world the new generation is building, but nothing beats the old savoury scent of a newly printed newspaper or the good old voice of Agbaje Williams over the radio as he weaves words to describe the game. The commentaries are almost as mesmerizing as the games themselves. However, they are sometimes filled with half-truths and fewer facts. They are a relic of the old life that survived without information. The ongoing AFCON tournament in Cote d”Ivoire has brought analysis closer to everyone, including the older generation.
VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY(VR/AR) I feel there is a limit to which we can introduce the old gentleman to technology, no matter how much he enjoys the beautiful game. I can imagine how immersive it would be to virtually be in the stadium as the games go on. There is a boundary between reality and artificial intelligence, and I also feel it takes some getting into. The old gentleman enjoying the energy of the total African Cup of Nations is probably not ready for an immediate immersive experience like that. However, to think how far the world has come since his first AFCON experience is to accept how far we have developed as a species. Maybe that is the evolution Darwin imagined.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: As much as the old gentleman loves the boisterous nature of the young men and women waiting for the stadium gates to be flung open, a part of me knew that he would be reluctant to go into the stadium for the football event. Security was probably a concern for him; his old, frail body could not withstand the pushing and shoving. So he kept his eyes on his newspaper while his ears focused on the ruckus that ensued as arguments went on. But his fears are from his past. Modern stadiums have crowd control measures that are state-of-the-art and ICT-assisted. For some reason, his newspaper did not carry that information.
MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY: Medical innovation in ICT has also made it possible to access quick and state-of-the-art medical assistance at the stadium if need be. The players enjoy innovations that allow every detail to be checked as the game is played: from heart rate to pulse while chasing after the ball. The old gentleman will probably never know because he is unlikely to take the chance of seeing a beautiful game of football live at the AFCON tournament happening right across the street from him.
CONCLUSION: I never got to know the old gentleman’s name. He stood up from his comfortable seat in front of the pub, folded his news magazine, and placed it under his armpit. His Panama hat looked sharp as he strode into the evening. A wristwatch dangled from his left wrist. He was the epitome of the old class, but he was a relic from a time past. Businesses around us sometimes are not different from him as they watch the world move on without them. They are content with the old analogue ways of getting things done. But the world can be better if you take the chance to find a helping hand. At BluDive Technology, we will show you a new world of ICT innovation and strengthen your business chances of scalability.
The integration of ICT in the AFCON tournament has transformed it into a world-class event in terms of performance and organization. It is now more accessible, engaging, and technologically advanced. From a fan perspective, the impact can be felt globally. It extends across various facets of the competition and the African continent.
Your business can attain this level of growth with our support. At BluDive Technologies, we provide tailored ICT solutions for every sector of the African business environment. Contact us today for your tailored solution.