Friday 12 April 2024, 16:15

Paraguay's new high-performance academy creates "pathway" for young talent, says FIFA President

  • Gianni Infantino attends inauguration of CARDIF (Centro de Alto Rendimiento de las Divisiones Formativas) in Luque, Paraguay

  • Part-funded by FIFA Forward programme, CARDIF provides world-class facilities to talented youngsters at Paraguay's leading clubs

  • CARDIF opening latest step taken by Paraguayan Football Association (APF) to ensure game's bright future in South American nation

Gianni Infantino has welcomed the opening of a high-performance centre for Paraguay's best young footballers, saying the facility is "creating a pathway" to the top of the game for the South American country's most talented young players. The FIFA President was joined by Paraguay's Vice-President Pedro Alliana, Sports Minister César Ramírez, Paraguay's Olympic Commitee President Camilo Pérez, CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez and Paraguayan Football Association (APF) President Robert Harrison to cut the ribbon that formally opened the centre.

"I recall being in Asunción last year as work began and I am delighted to be back to see this fantastic facility, known as CARDIF (Centro de Alto Rendimiento de las Divisiones Formativas), open its doors," said Mr Infantino at the inauguration ceremony in Luque, in Paraguay's Olympic Park. "This high-performance centre - comprising eight brand new artificial grass football pitches, four dressing rooms and gym blocks - will benefit the entire footballing landscape in the country and help in creating a pathway for young girls and boys by providing them with proper infrastructure and training facilities to progress their careers."

Representatives of Paraguay's leading clubs have already been given guided tours of the facility, and heard from the technical staff, who are headed by Prof. Javier Valdecantos. The CARDIF will seek to evolve training methodology to ensure continuous growth of young players in sporting, technical, medical and psychological areas. It will also benefit from the support of the Talent Development Scheme, FIFA's initiative that aims to have top-grade high-performance academies in 75 FIFA Member Associations by 2027. All but one of the centre's pitches and three of the four dressing rooms and gym blocks were financed through the FIFA Forward Programme. Introduced in 2016, the initiative supports FIFA's 211 member associations in bringing to fruition their football development projects. The third phase of funding will see up to USD 8 million being made available to each member association through to 2027.

With the support of the FIFA Forward Programme, the APF has revamped and enhanced football infrastructure in the country. Following the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019™, contested in the country’s capital Asunción, the APF restructured and inaugurated its Albiroga technical centre.

In October 2022, the FIFA President attended the official opening of a state-of-the-art high-performance training centre for women’s national teams (Centro de Alto Rendimiento del Fútbol Femenino (CARFEM)) in Ypané, which also benefitted from FIFA Forward funding.

Mr Infantino added: "Many thanks to everyone at the APF, led by President Robert Harrison, for your commitment to football development and for your positive engagement with the FIFA Forward Programme."