Tuesday 21 February 2017, 13:19

FIFA joins forces to promote grassroots football in Namibia

FIFA have joined forces with a host of parties to develop and rehabilitate sports fields and promote life skills through sport in Namibian schools in the Khomas and Ohangwena Regions.

The German Football Association (DFB), the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (a global service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), alongside FIFA, have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to show their commitment to the project. The agreement was signed by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, NFA President Frans Mbidi and DFB President Reinhard Grindel, as well as GIZ Head of Program Olaf Handloegten.

The far-reaching project will seek to enrich the lives of a vast number of Namibian children by benefitting 23 schools and one Vocational Training Centre in the country, while also aiding the NFA with the expansion of youth football at grassroots level by introducing football and other sporting competitions in schools.

“We are thrilled by this cooperation which is a good example of how FIFA’s member associations and governmental institutions can join forces to contribute to football development in a specific country,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

FIFA and the NFA will renovate existing football pitches at selected schools and institutions working with young people, with FIFA and the DFB helping to provide football equipment and educate instructors for coaching, refereeing and league management. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will build 44 new sport fields for football, basketball, volleyball and netball at the selected schools.

"Sport and football open hearts and motivate young people to take part in activities relevant for personal and social development, such as vocational training courses, HIV/AIDS education or conflict resolution," said German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Muller. "Constructing new and renovating existing sport facilities in Namibia will mobilise and integrate young people, in particular.”

The NFA, in partnership with the regional governments in Namibia, will help organise the school tournaments and competitions which, as the MoU states, are “the source of all football development in a country”. In all cases, a strong emphasis on life skills programmes will go hand in hand with sports coaching.

“The NFA is greatly pleased for Namibia to benefit in this form. This project will greatly enhance the reach of the NFA into densely populated parts of Namibia and open new doors for young people to access our game,” Namibia FA President Frans Mbidi explained. “This will allow them to benefit from all the good values of football. They will learn about teamwork and fair play. This project will not only be about teaching them to be footballers but also about producing good and healthy citizens for our country.”

These integrated life skills programmes will seek to address several inter-related challenges such as high HIV and AIDS prevalence among Namibians aged 15 to 24, high levels of teenage pregnancies, high levels of gender-based violence as well as substance and alcohol abuse.

The overarching objective is to provide better access to education on HIV/ AIDS through football, sporting facilities and equipment. As well as increasing the sporting capacity of the schools involved and widening the participation of school children in football, with the introduction of the school football competitions and improved levels of coaching.

"Together with the Westphalia Football/Track & Field Association, we have been involved in supporting Namibian football for quite a while. This commitment is now set to be reinforced by adding strong partners to the project,” said DFB President Reinhard Grindel. “Football teaches values such as tolerance, respect, and Fair Play; in fact, it is a school for life and more than suited to provide important incentives in developing and threshold countries, too. With this project, we'll be able to reach out to many children and young people, teaching them skills that will prove valuable throughout their later lives and give them hope for a better future.”

This MoU is in line with FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future, under one of the three key objectives: to ‘Grow the Game’. It also builds on the positive work carried out in Namibia last year. In July 2016, FIFA, the DFB and the NFA organised a grassroots coaching course for local instructors in Eenhana, the capital of the Ohangwena region, and there was a further coaching and life-skill course for school teachers in November, organised by NFA and GIZ and supported by FIFA and the DFB.​