Football development is one of FIFA’s and President Gianni Infantino’s top priorities, and it is also one of Rwanda’s top priorities, as evidenced by the extensive work done in this area by the country’s national football federation, FERWAFA.
The recently unveiled strategic development plan for women’s football, as well as the impressive accommodation centre built with the assistance of the FIFA Forward Programme, are excellent examples of this.
This functional complex, which is still in the planning stages, will be used to host the entire Amavubi (The Wasps) family – whether the men’s, women’s, or youth teams – during national gatherings. It will have 42 bedrooms, two dining rooms, several offices, and two large meeting rooms. During meetings or workshops, it will also welcome any FERWAFA guests.
“It’s a source of pride for the Kigali Regional Office to have supported FERWAFA in the construction of this superb building,” Davis Ndayisenga, Manager of FIFA’s Regional Development Office in Kigali, said. It’s a one-of-a-kind residential centre that will allow the Federation to pursue other projects in the future.”
“The goal of this project was to reduce the Federation’s accommodation costs, as the amounts previously spent on hotel rooms for its various teams were very high,” he continued. This structure solves that problem and can also be used for seminars and other events. Seeing the project come to fruition is fantastic for the Federation, but it will also serve as an example for others, encouraging them to launch their own initiatives.”
The strategy appears to be sound. FERWAFA should be able to cut its costs while simultaneously promoting football development by reducing the accommodation expenses incurred by the various national teams’ training camps, as it now has suitable facilities to host meetings, seminars, and workshops, which should serve as progress levers.
“We have a lot of people to put up ahead of matchdays or during training camps – youth and senior players, men’s teams, women’s teams – 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 will be extremely beneficial to us.
It should play an important role in the development of football in this area.”
All of this is consistent with FIFA’s 2020-2023 Vision, which aims to maximise football development.
Encouragement of infrastructure construction is one way to achieve this goal, and football’s governing body supported the project through its successful Forward Programme, completing a virtuous circle.
“At my level, it will allow me to have all of my teams available,” FERWAFA National Director of Football Gerard Buscher explained. “As well as hosting the national squads, it will allow us to organise meetings within the framework of the Talent Development Scheme.
We didn’t have the necessary facilities previously, so we had to travel all over the country. We’ll be able to bring in all of these talented players and work with them individually now.”
Rwanda certainly does not lack talent. Twelve years after their historic qualification for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the country is witnessing the maturation of its golden generation.
If the Rwandan Football Federation’s strong desire to progress is any indication, another similarly gifted crop of players – on both the men’s and women’s sides – should emerge soon. The wasps have built their nest. All they have to do now is learn to fly.