Friday 05 August 2022, 19:00

Living Football: Development, cooperation and hundreds of happy girls

  • A new episode of Living Football is now online

  • A FIFA delegation visits Cabo Verde to inaugurate multiple projects

  • Discover Gelson Fernandes' vision as FIFA Director of Member Associations Africa

In the latest episode of Living Football, we continue to highlight FIFA's efforts to make football truly global. On this occasion, we travel to Cabo Verde with a FIFA delegation to inaugurate a series of projects carried out with the support of the FIFA Forward Programme and talk to Gelson Fernandes, FIFA Director of Member Associations Africa, about these initiatives. We also drop in on Costa Rica, where excitement is building ahead of next week’s FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2022 thanks to the Vamos Juntas Tour. We conclude the episode with a visit to Leeds, England, where some of Europe’s top technical directors met to share their experiences and expertise.

With three new pitches and a refurbished academy and headquarters, Cabo Verde and its Football Federation are certainly seeing first-hand the benefits of the FIFA Forward Development Programme. The inauguration of these projects was doubly significant for Gelson Fernandes, who accompanied FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura and Kenny Jean-Marie, FIFA Director of Member Associations Services, to the West African islands. First because Cabo Verde is where Fernandes was born and raised and, secondly, because it was his first official trip since being appointed FIFA Director of Member Associations Africa. He spoke to us about the significance of all this, the development of football in Africa and some of major challenges facing that continent. "To all the children, I say believe in yourselves and that anything is possible; you really can make things happen. Football is more than a sport. It has wonderful values like respect, fair play, dedication, passion and commitment that you can bring to your daily life," he told us.

In Costa Rica, meanwhile, the atmosphere is one of joy and pura vida. Contributing to that is the Vamos Juntas Tour organised in the build-up to next week’s FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. A joint initiative of the tournament’s Local Organising Committee and the FIFA Women's Football Development Programme, it involved hundreds of girls between the ages of eight and 13 from different schools and social backgrounds enjoying football matches with the aim of promoting women's football in the country. Finally, in Leeds, England, some of Europe’s top technical directors met in a collaborative workshop hosted by FIFA and UEFA, the first time such an event has taken place since 2009. The workshop sought to establish mechanisms to increase cooperation between both governing bodies and develop the role of technical director across European national associations.