FIFA joins forces to rehabilitate sports facilities in Namibia

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FIFA, the German Football Association (DFB), the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and rehabilitate sports fields and promote life skills through sport in Namibian schools in the Khomas and Ohangwena Regions.

Singing the agreement were FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, NFA President Frans Mbidi and DFB President Reinhard Grindel, as well as GIZ representative 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.

Samoura said: “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”.

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. A German International Cooperation, GIZ (Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit) will modernise and expand existing sporting infrastructures for other sports, including basketball, volleyball and netball and will build 44 new sport fields at the selected schools.

“Sport and football opens everybody’s hearts and can motivate young people to take part in developmental activities such as vocational training courses, HIV/AIDS education or conflict resolution. Building 44 new and rehabilitating a further 17 sport facilities in Namibia will go a long way to mobilise especially young people,” said Olaf Handloegten of GIZ.

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.

These integrated life skills programme 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 football and sporting facilities and equipment, increase the sporting capacity of the schools involved and widen the participation of schoolchildren in football, with the introduction of the school football competitions and improved levels of coaching.

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 coachingcourse 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.