FIFA (www.FIFA.com) the delegation visited Cabo Verde; An island nation involved in several FIFA Forward projects; New facilities will help develop the game
The FIFA delegation completed a four-day visit to Cabo Verde on Thursday 28 July, during which they unveiled facilities such as a new artificial pitch and an updated academy as well as the headquarters of the Cabo Verde Football Association (FCF), all funded by FIFA’s Forward Program.
“It’s a dream fulfillment because we’ve done a lot of work, especially at the stadium in Santa Cruz,” said FCF President Mario Semedo. “FIFA is our main football development partner in Cabo Verde. We couldn’t have gotten to where we are today without them.”
“FIFA Forward is a unique development program launched by FIFA in 2016,” said Kenny Jean-Marie, Director of FIFA Member Association Services (https://fifa.fans/3Je8yP0). “This allows us to establish close relations with the federation. It’s not just about sending money and hoping football will develop on its own. We talk all the time and exchange ideas, as we have here at Cabo Verde. We have identified a number of priorities with the board and FCF President Mario Semedo with a view to creating a strategy and launching the project.”
Discussing one of the new artificial pitches made possible by FIFA’s Forward Programme, Jean-Marie said: “This project is designed to benefit everyone living in the northern region around Santa Cruz. The pitch will help sub-regional leagues and all teams in the region be able to play their matches here, on a high-quality, FIFA-approved pitch.”
Gelson the pioneer
More artificial pitches will be installed in the future and FIFA will continue to support Cabo Verde with the project while overseeing the proper maintenance of the existing structure to ensure its lasting development. “Now we have a location we can play there,” said the Frenchman. “We can start the competition now and the youngsters can have fun and develop their football skills on this pitch and then aim to follow in the footsteps of the famous players who have gone before them.”
Notable players include Gelson Fernandes, who is a role model in Cabo Verdean football. Born in the nation’s capital, Praia, he began studying trade in Santa Cruz before moving to Europe with his family in search of a better life. He went on to win 67 caps for Switzerland and is now the Director of the FIFA African Member Association. “Although I was lucky enough to be able to move abroad, I am still very attached to this country,” said the former Manchester City midfielder. “These islands represent a large part of who I am.
“This facility is very important because it will give people the opportunity to play football,” continued Gelson, who has appeared in three FIFA World Cup™ competitions with Die Nati. “When I see these kids playing, I can see myself in them. I see people who love the game and who are passionate about it, both girls and boys. It’s up to us to give them every chance to play.”
Giving a message to every young person who dreams of having a successful career like him, he said: “Believe in yourself. Believe that it is possible and you can do it. Football is more than just a sport. It has values that you can apply in your life, such as respect, fair play, dedication, passion and commitment.”
While it is exciting for children to enjoy Gelson’s success abroad, one of FIFA’s main goals is to enable African countries to develop and retain their talented players, as explained by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who also made the trip. .
Building a talent pool
“We know how much passion there is for football in Africa,” said Samoura. “No matter which country you visit, you can’t go from the airport to your hotel without seeing girls and boys playing on the street. As far as we know, this is more than just a continent that is good at providing talent to other confederations. We’ve seen so many great players come out of Africa and excel at the biggest clubs in Europe.”
This is what gives meaning to the work being done at Cabo Verde, where this new facility is paving the way to a brighter future and a stronger game across Africa as a whole. FIFA’s ambitious development project for the continent continues, in line with FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s goal of making football a truly global game.
Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of FIFA.
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Cabo Verde Ready for the Future
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