FA Malawi hosting FIFA’s infrastructure workshop

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is hosting an international FIFA Forward Infrastructure workshop at Protea Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre, the first to be held in Africa since its inception last November, a programme which the world football governing body emphasizes on how serious it is trying to improve the fabric of the game through infrastructure development.

Nyamilandu addressing the delegates
Nyamilandu shares light moment with Daniel Krebs during break
The delegates
Some of the delegates

In his opening remarks, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, who is also FIFA Council member, said he was proud that the world football governing body decided to consider Malawi to host this workshop which is the first for Africa since the project embarked in November 2018.

“It shows the confidence that FIFA has in Malawi and please take the message back to Zurich that we don’t take it for granted. From the agenda outlined, I am convinced you will have a great two-day session as you strategically reflect with experts in the fields of engineering, architecture and project management, aiming at developing sports facilities.

“Infrastructure is the backbone of football development. You may have willing players, football equipment, eager fans but there will be no football if you have space to play.

“Indeed, for organised football under our respective federations, it is not just about space but proper infrustacures to reflect the modern times we are leaving in. It is fact that most African countries are struggling economically and building and maintaining sports and indeed football facilities is not a priority.

“Therefore, it is paramount that we learn the best practice of professionalising our FA’s on how to use the meagre resources to upgrade and maintain the facilities,” he said.

FAM is being represent by its general secretary Alfred Gunda, technical director John Kaputa, finance director Christopher Mdolo, commercial director Limbani Matola, licensing & compliance manager Casper Jangale, facility supervisor Jossam Namwera and referees development officer Maxwell Mtonga.

Other participants include Cape Verde Islands general secretary Dan Mereka Nunez Da Garcia, CAF’s club licensing mamanger Muhammad Sidat, Egypt’s coordinator of development & investment Hatem Sabry Mohammed Ragab and others from Eswatini, Eritrea, Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

FIFA delegation include development officer Marie-Florence Mahwera from regional office in Addis Ababa, development coordinator Christine Gama from regional office in Johannesburg and projector officer Hassan Khan.

The FIFA Council member, voted in last year, continued to say for better improvement of the game, there is need for good infrastructure which cannot come on its own without good advice.

“That’s why we call upon our technical experts to guide us over the course of two days on the best practices in terms of infrastructure development. This workshop will provide very insightful modules — from natural and artificial turfs, which are essential for the training of new generations of players, through to seat installation and upgrade of facilities and their maintenance.

“As Malawi we are looking forward to learn the best practices from the the rest of the world and we are also ready to share our experience in infrastructure development.

As a country, we have stories to share on how we have made progress in infrastructure development under FIFA funding in the past 17 years since 2002 from the GOAL Project that saw us getting the first goal project of building of hostels.

“Goal project 2 saw us build top of the class administration block, bar, gym and restaurants and the third project enabled us to build a technical centre in the Northern Region

“Then two special projects saw us buy a stadium within Blantyre and lay the artificial turf at the Chiwembe Technical Centre. Then came the FIFA forward project two years later with custom tailored projects which enabled us to turn the Chiwembe Technical Centre into a full-fledged stadium.

“We now have a Football Village with everything under one roof and I am happy you will be able to appreciate the facility in the afternoon. As FAM and indeed on behalf of the rest of African countries we must thank FIFA for the support in infrastructure development.

“We have benefited from FIFA on a number of developments and with the FIFA Forward Programme – the future of football in terms of infrastructure development looks secured.”

Topics under microscope during the workshop include building sustainable and accessible infrastructures that meet international standards; helping lead infrastructure projects professionally and efficiently and adopting best practices as done by other FAs.

It is also to appreciate that constructions are paramount elements for the professionalisation of football associations; to further develop this type of infrastructure for football to remain the most loved sport around the globe and to get all the necessary methodology needed to implement current and future infrastructure projects.

Other topics include general principles of infrastructure; natural grass pitches; artificial turf; sustainability; other playing surfaces such as for Futsal and beach soccer; stadia, technical centres and applying for infrastructure-related FIFA Forward projects.

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