KIGALI, (The Southern African Times) – FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Friday inaugurated a FIFA Regional Development Office for the East African region in a ceremony attended by the region’s top football officials.
The global football body termed the new office “a substantial boost” for the long-term development of football in East Africa.
Infantino said the office will facilitate the development of football, noting that FIFA was partnering with various countries globally to enhance the sport.
“I would like to thank President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan government for facilitating the opening of this office, as it sets the scene for us at FIFA level to be able to help all the associations at the regional level to develop football,” the FIFA President said.
“Infrastructure, competitions, development and education, these are the key areas which FIFA is focused on, and the task of this office will be to implement the FIFA Forward program in the region.”
The decision to establish FIFA Regional Development Offices around the world was made in 2017 with the aim of better serving member associations and to be closer to their needs.
Africa is to host four offices, the other three located in Dakar in Senegal, Johannesburg in South Africa and the Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.
On his part Rwanda’s football chief hailed FIFA decision to select Kigali as one of the locations to host a FIFA Regional Development Office.
“The Rwandan Football Association is grateful for the establishment of this office in the region, which proves the extent of FIFA’s commitment to the development of football in Africa, and we are profoundly grateful that Kigali has been chosen to be the home of this FIFA Regional Development Office,” said FERWAFA President, Jean-Damascene Sekamana.
Infantino later met with Rwanda President Paul Kagame, whom he said was also keen on enhancing the game.
“I was delighted to meet Mr Kagame again. He is a truly devoted football fan who is committed to promoting sport and football as a symbol of peace and means to drive important social values, especially among the young people in the community,” the FIFA President said.
“From FIFA’s perspective, we are also appreciative of the support that the Rwanda government is giving FERWAFA and football locally. It is helping to build solid foundations for football in Rwanda to prosper.”