Football for Hope in Windhoek

27 September 2010

Katutura township, in the heart of Namibia’s capital of Windhoek, came alive on Saturday as locals gathered to witness the opening of the Katutura Football for Hope Centre – the third of 20 such centres being built across Africa as a legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™.

This is the second centre to be opened outside South Africa. The inaugural centre was opened in Khayelitsha township on the outskirts of Cape Town last year as part of the 20 Centres for 2010 campaign initiated ahead of the World Cup, followed by a second centre in Mathare in Nairobi earlier this month.

The programme aims to build 20 centres around Africa to help address some of the challenges faced by the continent, including education and public health.

Five more centres are due be completed over the next four to five months in Mali, Rwanda, Ghana, Lesotho, and Mokopane in South Africa.

The Katutura Football for Hope Centre boasts an artificial football turf, a computer lab and a public health services area.

Speaking at Saturday’s opening, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said the centre was part of Fifa’s commitment not only to leave a post-World Cup legacy for the continent, but help also to help Africa develop in different spheres.

“We have to make sure that Africa does not only provide a pool of [football] talent,” Valcke said.

Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula said he was happy that Namibia had also benefited from the hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in neighbouring South Africa.

He appealed to the Special Olympics Namibia, the organisation hosting the centre, and the Namibian Football Association to engage other partners to ensure the sustainability of the centre. “We don’t want to see this centre as a white elephant in the future,” he said.

Jan Coetzee, project manager at Streetfootballworld, a partner in the 20 Centres for 2010 campaign, said: “September has been a very exciting month for us. Two weeks ago, we were in one of the most disadvantaged areas in Nairobi, and today we are thrilled to be part of the opening of this centre here in Namibia.

“This should be a platform for Special Olympics Namibia to perform their work. We look forward in working with them in the future.”