On Friday 19th February, FIFA President Gianni Infantino launched a Regional Football Office (RDO) in Kigali. Delegates from the FIFA Member Associations Presidents in the CECAFA region as well government officials including Sports Minister Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju and Foreign Affairs Minister Vincent Biruta as well FERWAFA President Rtd Brig. General Jean-Damascene Sekamana attended the signing and inauguration of the office.
FIFA’s regional office in Kigali will have the mandate to coordinate all its related activities in specific regions. It will provide strategic guidance to regional Member Associations, and provide recommendations to FIFA Headquarters for development support in the region.
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.
“We need to nurture our talents and we need to focus on what we can do. And this regional office is at the heart in this part of Africa that will give the incentive to organize events competitions, academies to make sure that our children play in structured programmes in academies. And they can grow and show to the rest of Africa and the world what can be done in this region.” He added.
The regional office opens in Kigali after a partnership agreement was reached between FIFA and Rwanda.
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
Biruta 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.
“We wish to reiterate our commitment to work closely with FIFA to use football as a vehicle to advance key priorities of our region and Africa such as education, and children development with the football in schools Programme.” He said.
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.
FIFA’s development efforts rely on Regional Development Offices (RDOs), located around the world, to effectively implement the organization’s efforts to grow the game.
Rwanda becomes the 11th Regional Development Office all over the world alongside India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Senegal, Barbados, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.