Designated as one of FIFA’s and President Gianni Infantino’s key goals, football development is also one of Rwanda’s principal concerns, as demonstrated by the substantial work carried out in this sphere by its national football federation, FERWAFA. The strategic development plan for women’s football that it unveiled recently is an excellent example of this, as is its impressive accommodation centre it has just finished building with the help of the FIFA Forward Programme.
Made up of 42 bedrooms, two dining rooms, several offices and two large meeting rooms, this functional complex, which is still in a development phase, will be used to host the entire Amavubi (The Wasps) family – be it the men’s, women’s or youth teams – during national gatherings. It will also open its doors to any FERWAFA guests during meetings or workshops.
“It’s a source of pride for the Kigali Regional Office to have supported FERWAFA in the construction of this superb building,” explained Davis Ndayisenga, Manager of FIFA’s Regional Development Office, which was officially opened in Kigali almost a year ago to the day. It’s a unique residential centre that will enable the Federation to embark on other projects in the future.”
He continued: “The aim of this project was to reduce the Federation’s accommodation costs, as the sums previously spent on hotel rooms for its various teams were very high. This building solves that problem and can also be used for seminars and suchlike. Seeing the project come to fruition is fantastic for the Federation, but also for the whole region: it’ll serve as an example for others, encouraging them to launch their own initiatives.”
The strategy certainly appears sound. By reducing the accommodation expenses incurred by the different national teams’ training camps, FERWAFA should be able to trim its costs while simultaneously promoting football development, as it now has suitable facilities with which to host meetings, seminars and workshops, which should, in turn, serve as levers for progress.
“Youth and senior players, men’s teams, women’s teams – we’ve got a lot of people to put up ahead of matchdays or during training camps, and that generates huge costs,” said FERWAFA President Olivier Mugabo. “The resulting budget problems sometimes forced us to do without programmes aimed at developing coaches or Technical Directors, because we didn’t have enough financial resources to provide lodging for everyone. The new centre is going to help us a lot. It should play a key role in football development here.”
A nest for the Amavubi
All of this is very much in keeping with FIFA’s The Vision 2020-2023, which aims to maximise football development. Encouraging the construction of infrastructure is one of the ways to achieve this objective, and football’s governing body supported the project through its successful Forward Programme, helping to complete a virtuous circle.
“At my level, it will enable me to have all my teams available,” explained FERWAFA National Director of Football Gerard Buscher. “As well as hosting the national squads, it will allow us to organise meetings within the framework of the Talent Development Scheme. Previously, we didn’t have the necessary facilities, and we were forced to travel all over the country. Now we’ll be able to bring all these talented players here and work with them individually.”
And Rwanda is certainly not lacking in talent. Twelve years after their historic qualification for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the country is seeing its golden generation come of age. If the Rwandan Football Federation’s strong desire to make progress is anything to go by, another similarly gifted crop of players – on the women’s side as well as the men’s – should not take too long to emerge.
The Wasps have now made their nest. All that remains is for them to learn to fly.
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