By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA, through the national football body, has been chosen by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) to pilot the development of women football on the continent. The country has for the past years driven a successful campaign in the development of women football, efforts that have tremendously impressed the football world body. An assessment was conducted by FIFA on the women football’s academies in the country and these academies were highly rated as the world body found their development projects very encouraging. Apart from Namibia, other countries that were also selected for their individual success stories are Kenya, who has a mass participation of women footballers, and Ethiopia which has been selected on club licensing because women football is part of the mainstream national league. Speaking to Confidente recently, Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women Department general manager, Jacqui Shipanga, said that FIFA instructors Patricia Gonzales and Sue Ronan Martin conducted the country’s assessment in July by interviewing media practitioners, coaches, football administrators and parents on women football. Shipanga said that they are awaiting recommendations from the two FIFA instructors on the action plan based on the project to be undertaken by the football body. Shipanga said that women football has been sustainable in the country that is why the international football body chose Namibia to spearhead the pilot project. This she said will in the end see its project being introduced on the continent. “Namibia has been chosen as a case study in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and local expertise can now be tasked by FIFA to conduct courses or simply used as consultants in introducing women football programmes in some African countries,” revealed Shipanga. “We don’t want to see a situation where we are reinventing what we already did but instead come up with proposals that complement the current programmes,” said Shipanga. “Our Galz & Goals project has seen mass youth participation countrywide in 12 regions and our national football teams have been competitive internationally,” she added. Another assessment will be conducted in the next four years. Shipanga further revealed that the programme will be fully funded by FIFA and will be complemented by the NFA, while the under-15 will form part of the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) Under- 15 Football Festival where between 20 and 30 potential players will be selected to form part of the academy. Shipanga explained that only the Kunene and Omusati regions are trailing behind in the development of women football but she is optimistic that the situation will soon change for the better. “We are committed and determined to grow women football and Opuwo has shown tremendous progress in the development of football at the town,’ she stressed. NFA Secretary General Barry Rukoro said FIFA is impressed by the projects conducted by the football body despite the association always being criticised left, right and centre. “That is why FIFA chose Namibia to administer the pilot project of which all its successes will be implemented in the long run,” he said. He said since its introduction in 2008, women football continues to grow and impress FIFA favourably, saying he is extremely happy that the Galz & Goals’ project will go continentally.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015