29 June 2010
Football body Fifa says it is on track to roll out 20 Football for Hope centres across Africa after the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The ambitious project is one of the major legacies Fifa wants to leave after staging the first World Cup on the continent.
The Football for Hope centres will feature football mini-pitches along with classrooms and health care facilities, providing young people with access to counselling, health and educational services.
“We are definitely on track and we want to complete the centres by 2012,” Fifa’s Henry Nasale, director of the 20 Centres for 2010 project, told a media briefing in Johannesburg on Monday. “In fact, work on three of the centres will start in Nairobi and Kenya in the next three weeks.
“We are receiving a lot of support from the governments and local communities, so our work is progressing and people will be seeing these legacy centres very soon.”
Five of the centres will be built in South Africa, and one is already operational in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, where it serves as a vehicle to promote education, health and community development in the fast-growing township.
Nasale said each centre was designed in close collaboration with the community to ensure that the infrastructure was consistent with local needs.
Football-based activities are used at the centres to provide an out-of-school learning experience for young people.
Former Bafana Bafana Captain Lucas Radebe, who lent his name for the campaign, said football should go beyond the pitch. “I think the time has come that football makes an impact in the lives of people. Many of us have become role models through football, and many kids are looking up to us, so it only makes sense that we are involved in some kind of community development.
“The centres are emphasising what we refer to as the power of football, because with this game you can do anything, and what better way to use the power of the sport than investing in community upliftment,” Radebe said.
Radebe will be traveling around the continent helping Fifa to set up the centres.
Fifa’s six official partners – Adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates, Hyundai, Sony and Visa – last year committed to contributing US$500 for each goal scored during the more than 800 World Cup qualifying matches, amounting to a donation of over $1-million.