Football development activities of the global football governing body, FIFA will at the regional level be coordinated in Rwanda, following the opening of a regional centre to be located in Kigali.
The FIFA Regional Football Development Official (RDO) was launched in Kigali on Friday, February 19 by Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President who was accompanied by senior government officials.
The development further underpins the government effort to promote sports not only as a leisure activity, but also as a major source revenue in the long run.
The inauguration of the office was attended by delegates from the FIFA Member Associations Presidents in the CECAFA region as well government officials including Foreign Affairs Minister Vincent Biruta, Sports Minister Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju as well FERWAFA President Rtd Brig. General Jean-Damascene Sekamana.
Launching the Office, Infantino commended the President Paul Kagame for welcoming FIFA to start operations, through the Regional Offices that the World governing body opened in Kigali.
He said opening the Regional Development Office shows FIFA’s commitment to develop football in East Africa, mainly in CECAFA member countries.
“We have decided to open this regional office because we are aware that we need to do more for football development, competitions organization and we need to do more for East Africa because it is part of such a big passion for football. This office’s main task is not to organise meetings but to develop football,” Infantino said.
Minister Biruta said the partnership is a testimony of excellent collaboration that already exists between Rwanda and FIFA, including the project of contracting three stadiums with a seating capacity of 3000 each in rural Districts of Rutsiro, Rusizi and Gicumbi.
“With the establishment of this office we are looking forward to expediting these projects which will boost football promotion and development of it targets at the grassroots level in Rwanda and the region in general,” he said
The minister commended FIFA for choosing Rwanda as the host nation of the regional office and pledged full support and cooperation so the regional office can achieve its mandate through coordinating FIFA activities in the region, providing strategic guidance to regional member associations, and advising FIFA headquarters on development support in the region.
Rwanda has been chosen among three countries in Africa to implement football in schools and having the office in Kigali will help the country, through the football governing body (FERWAFA) to elaborate and speed up football development programmes for FIFA beginning from the grassroots level through FIFA Forward Development.
“So it means that, working with FIFA staff from here, will help the development go as fast as possible. We are confident that this office will continue to facilitate member associations by speeding up the implementation of existing services, especially FIFA Forward Programmes,” said FERWAFA President Jean-Damascene Sekamana.
FIFA’s Regional Development Office will work closely with CECAFA member countries namely Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and host nation Rwanda in the implementation of different development programmes.
Rwanda becomes the third country in Africa, after Senegal and South Africa, to have a FIFA regional development office.