Mauritius Football and its Future

Football in Mauritius is very popular especially among the youth. It is governed by the Mauritius Football Association. Club M represents Mauritius in the senior competitions internationally. It’s also represented by U-17 and U-20 teams in youth competitions internationally. The top domestic football league is the Mauritian League. The top knockout Mauritian football tournament is the Mauritian Cup.

The history of football in Mauritius has had a history of ups and downs. They have been faced with the shortage of funds and constant change of MFA presidents. The domestic league matches have few spectators which have
continuously demoralized players. This has made the MFA and the clubs to get very little funds that are inadequate to run their activities. The restructuring of MFA in 1999 was the beginning of the decline in Mauritian football. This followed a riot between Scouts Club (renamed Port Louis Sporting Club) and Fire Brigade Sports Club (renamed Pamplemousses SC) which killed seven people after lasting for three days. The Mauritian government imposed a ban on all football activities in the country for 18 months. Only the national team could play during this period.

The MFA restructure was meant to de-ethnicize local clubs so that teams could be formed on a regional basis instead of religion or ethnicity. The move was successful in terms of reduction in violent conflicts. Unfortunately, it
eliminated traditional rivalry among fans which resulted in the loss of support and interest. To this day, many locals believe that football comeback in Mauritius lies in permitting formation of ethnic or religion based football clubs and also in having more sponsors.

In 2015 the Mauritius Professional Football League (MPFL), the organizer of professional football in Mauritius, declared that they will no longer organize the Premier League tournaments. Lack of interest of certain clubs and leaders of the Mauritius Football Association (MFA), and especially the former results achieved by Club M at the Indian Ocean Islands (JIOI) Games prior to this decision, was the basis for this withdrawal.

With the advent of professional football, the level of play has come a long way. This new formula has enabled 250 licensees to live off their passion. On the other hand, the women’s football, once forgotten, has regained a place in
the Mauritian sports landscape. However, Georges Chung, MPFL president, no longer wanted to be involved in the organization and wants to distance himself from the MFA activities. “I spent a lot of time and money on this project but the clubs and the MFA did not really play the game. At the level of the reforms, no development and training
projects were undertaken,” he explains “He also said. “It’s a pity for football but I think I did the right thing to try to fix the situation.”

The Republic Cup 2017 draw was held on Thursday 24 November 2016 at the Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebene. KFC will be the official sponsor of the 2017 Republic Cup. The trophy holder, Joachim’s Circle, will have Grand Bel Air
Spurs (D2) on the first lap. Twenty-six teams will compete for the KFC Republic Cup 2017. Competitions are expected to begin in the third week of December. The final will be held on March 5, 2017, at the New George V

Mauritius has shown progress considering their up movement in the world football position where they moved from 174th position in December 2015 to 142nd position in June this year. The team has secured more success in the
regional competitions; their coach is daring to dream big and says that they are working hard to get to the continental competition. The coach is also looking at the importance of youth football development and the country will host the COSAFA U-17 tournament.