PSNI led the development of all these organizations from their original establishment to their current status as independent affiliates in the PSNI Network. PSNI continues to support their independent affiliation but requires demonstrated accountability and performance. These Network organizations are in different stages of transition and/or program capacity as a result of changes in local Board and management leadership. In 2016 the PSNI Board took steps to assist their independent development, proudly appointing and welcoming new PSNI Board members with particular expertise to provide oversight and guidance to specific country organizations. Two of these new PSNI Board members are Acha Acha Samuel and Gerard Akindes.

Samuel is guiding the re-establishment of the PLAY SOCCER Cameroon program even as the current unrest in Cameroon presents unprecedented challenges. (For further info on Cameroon’s political and socio-economic challenges in Cameroon, refer to the New York Times article of February 10, 2017). Originally from Cameroon, Samuel served as the Program Director of PLAY SOCCER Cameroon, before immigrating to the USA about seven years ago. Once in the USA, Samuel added to his Cameroon postgraduate degrees in anthropology with an advanced degree and professional license as a nurse practitioner. His Cameroon roots, firsthand knowledge and experience with the PSNI core program and his commitment and new professional and educational skills in public health make Samuel an ideal addition to the PSNI Board.

Gerard Akindes is overseeing Play Soccer Senegal development. Gerard holds a doctorate from Ohio University, various master degrees in international affairs, sports management and economics and has a deep experience and interest in African sports that give him broad expertise. A native French speaker originally from Benin, Gerard knows PSNI and Play Soccer Senegal well from his key role in the 2009 to 2011 US Department of State Education and Cultural Exchange Grant for Africa which PSNI received with Ohio University. Gerard currently works in Doha, Qatar at the Josoor Institute Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for the Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup.

PSNI aims to make other new PSNI Board appointments in the coming weeks that will focus on Malawi and Zambia where local initiatives by program volunteers sustain program capacity. PSNI is proud that the unfailing belief and commitment of these local citizens provide the foundation for the program and the pillars for development in all these countries. PSNI remains committed to support their efforts.