Football associations in the Cosafa region will no longer have to go all the way to Zurich in Switzerland to get their development issues sorted out after Fifa opened a regional office at Safa House in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Fifa‚ through their Forward Programme‚ is helping their member associations with their grassroots development support and the launch of the Southern African regional offices in Johannesburg will help speed up funding to the associations in need.
“The office will function as the link between the member associations in the Cosafa region with Fifa in ensuring delivery under the Forward Programme‚” said David Fani‚ the man appointed to manage the regional office in Johannesburg.
Fani‚ the former president of Botswana Football Association‚ said their role will be to facilitate the member association’s fulfilment of the programme requirements and also ensure that when the associations do their applications for funding they do them properly.
“So we will be facilitating from the initial steps of a project until it is completed.
“We deal with the members of Fifa at the level of the associations.
“From the application to implementation of the programme we will manage the project to ensure that it is completed within time.”
Fani said the centrality of Johannesburg to other Cosafa regions was the main reason why Fifa decided to house their offices at Safa House.
“Fifa has ten such offices and very soon they will be eleven regional offices globally at strategically placed venues.
“In Africa we will have three but currently we have two‚ which is one in SA and in Dakar‚ Senegal. The third one will be in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
“The choice of the office is done based on ensuring that the office would operate optimally in serving member associations.
“So the positioning was deemed to be strategic in placing the office here in SA because SA is the hub and it is a lot easier to reach for a lot countries because of the fact that there are a lot of flights to Johannesburg.”
Safa president Danny Jordaan said his association was thrilled to have been given the opportunity of hosting Fifa.
“This office will help the associations in particular in accessing development funding‚” said Jordaan.
“From next year Fifa will have five million US dollars available for each national association.
“What that means is that you must develop sound developmental programmes and very often in the past only those associations with the ability to put proposal together were given funding.
“This office will provide that service. So it’s a huge opportunity for the region.
“Now if I want to talk to office I will just come downstairs. I don’t have to go to the airport‚ get on the plane and go to Zurich.”