Friday 11 October 2019, 13:17

Infrastructure workshops crystallise football development hopes in Oceania and Africa 

  • 9 MAs originating from the OFC region gathered end of August in Fiji

  • The objective of the workshops was to provide the attendees with the necessary guidelines to improve the state of all their football infrastructure

  • The Samoa MA presented how it successfully renovated its bleachers and dressing rooms using FIFA Forward funds

  • A similar workshop took place on 25 and 26 September in Bujumbura, Burundi reuniting 16 African MAs

FIFA Member Associations Services team and colleagues from the Auckland regional development office, recently completed one of their last infrastructure workshops in the paradise island of Fiji. Gathering with 9 MAs from the OFC region, the FIFA Forward team presented their most recent developments and innovations in the area of infrastructure installment and project implementation.

All the represented MAs mentioned that the timing to host such a workshop was perfect in their region since they needed FIFA’s administration support and expertise to improve their facilities and learn about the best current practices in this field.

The Football Federation Samoa (FFS) delivered an insightful presentation highlighting how they efficiently renovated their bleachers and dressing rooms.

According to the President of the Samoa MA, the completion of the project was a milestone as it was the first time accessibility was taken into account and incorporated into the design of sports grounds in their country and this particular region as well.

Representatives of CAFÉ (Centre for Access to Football in Europe) were also attending the event and based their presentation on the Samoa experience as a best example of infrastructure development sharing the case study with all the present stakeholders.

Interestingly, one particular point about the OFC region is the lack of artificial turf pitches. That is why by organising such workshops, it will undoubtedly benefit the football community and demonstrate the lasting benefits that artificial turf pitches can bring to the development of football, more specifically in areas where land is scarce as the latest innovative surfaces allow higher usage.

A similar workshop also took place end of September in Bujumbura, Burundi. Attended by officials and regional MAs, the gathering was an opportunity to reflect on the importance of creating more sustainable infrastructures on the African continent. Several case studies highlighting the examples of Burundi, Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti were thoroughly presented to the participants. Group discussions followed to exchange ideas, knowledge and suggestions.

Lydia Nsekera, FIFA Council Member, who attended the event actively took part in the discussions: "Organising such seminars is critical for football development in Africa. Member associations ask a lot of questions and they are interested in the infrastructure. To improve the development of African football, in my opinion, it is paramount to install state-of-the-art infrastructure, be it headquarters, technical center or land. When we talk about infrastructure, we have to take into account that it is related to both women and men and women's football is an important part of it."

Infrastructure workshops crystallise football development hopes in Oceania 

What we heard from our MAs in Fiji:

“For a president to understand how infrastructure projects work on an executive level eases the processes allowing infrastructure projects to move a lot much faster.” Samuel Petaia, President, Football Federation Samoa

“It was really insightful to learn about football turf installations. This could have a major impact on how football is developed in the Pacific. It will allow more children and adults to play football and we are thrilled to share that this workshop is helping us to develop our first ever FIFA approved stadium which will be financed with FIFA Forward funds”. Joseph Zulu Boso, Project Manager, Solomon Islands Football Federation

“We are very privileged to be hosting this workshop because Fiji Football has been utilizing the FIFA Forward funds to the maximum. Thanks to this new impetus, we just signed the contract with a construction company for the development of a new Technical Centre on the second biggest island of Fiji.” Mohammed Yusuf, General Secretary / CEO, Fiji Football Association

In Burundi:

"We learned a lot through this workshop. The seminar took considered African realities. Our Member Association relies on FIFA’s support, our activities are 90% financed with the world football’s governing body support. With the Forward program we have completed the installation of a synthetic turf and the construction for a second one will start within a month. When I see these projects realised, my satisfaction could not be higher. I put myself in the place of the beneficiaries: the children, the women, the championship and realise what it means to them." Dembele Djibrine Mahamat, Secretary General, Chadian Football Federation