Wednesday 04 March 2020, 12:52

FIFA lighting up Congolese football

  • Solar panels helping light pitches in Congo DR

  • "FIFA’s goal is to increase participation in football worldwide"

Two stabilised hard ground football pitches in Kinshasa have been illuminated for the very first time thanks to solar panels installed with the support of FIFA.

Following an unveiling ceremony attended by President of the Football Association of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Constant Omari and FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer Véron Mosengo-Omba, local youth teams took part in an inaugural friendly match to celebrate the event.

The project, initiated by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, was inspired by the FIFA Forward Programme, which, since 2016, has been driving the development of football around the world by giving tailor-made support to FIFA’s 211 member associations. A key focus of the programme is the sustainable improvement of sporting and administrative infrastructure.

The purchase and installation of the solar panels and floodlights in Kinshasa — at a cost of just under USD 100,000 — was funded directly by FIFA as part of a pilot project that first trialled in Burkina Faso, where the floodlighting system was inaugurated in January 2019. This funding is completely unrelated to any FIFA Forward 2.0 investment received by the DR Congo Football Association for development projects or for operational costs.

Work on the project in the Kasa-Vubu municipality of Kinshasa began in June 2019, and now the newly-installed floodlights will enable the children and young people in the area to use the football facilities and pursue their passion long after nightfall.

“FIFA’s goal is to increase participation in football worldwide,” said FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer Véron Mosengo-Omba. “Thanks to the solar-powered lighting in Kinshasa, the children no longer have to play football in high temperatures at midday or in the afternoon, but can use the pitch until midnight. This creates a flexibility that will benefit the community and football in the country equally.”

FIFA is currently developing environment standards for infrastructure financed by the Forward Programme, which will be enforced for all new infrastructure projects as of 2021.