Botswana’s priviledge of hosting the FIFA Development Office (FDO) is coming to an end at the end of this year. The FIFA office will be relocating from Gaborone to Johannesburg, South Africa.
This was revealed by FIFA development officer, Ashford Mamelodi in a press statement.
In an interview with this publications he said: “FIFA is undergoing a major restructuring which started with changes at the headquarters following the election of the new FIFA President. This then moved to the development offices worldwide. Initially there had been 13 offices across the world of which four were in Africa. With the new structure, there will be nine regional development offices planned, out of which two are in Africa based in Johannesburg, South Africa and Dakar, Senegal,” Mamelodi said.
He said the decision to move the office from Gaborone was mooted two years ago, but this was only confirmed when the restructuring exercise was undertaken this year.
“The justification given at the time was that Johannesburg is a hub and easily accessible. Even travel from the office in Gaborone to the different countries in the region would in most cases necessitate going through Johannesburg,” said Mamelodi.
When asked how the office contributed to the development of football in Botswana Mamelodi said: “The best placed parties to address this would be the respective associations that have benefitted from FIFA development programmes through the office including the Botswana Football Association (BFA).”
He is satisfied that in almost all the countries in this region (15 of them), FIFA development activities including Goal Projects have been achieved.
Mamelodi noted that Botswana benefited from “Three Goal Projects at Lekidi with the fourth soon to start. Win in Africa with Africa Football Turf at Molepolole Stadium; Challenger Project by way of the Football Turf just outside Lekidi Technical Centre and countless educational programmes including Grassroots Football Programme and many courses in Refereeing, Administration & Coaching (including Youth coaching); Women’s Football programmes to mention but a few.
He observed that in almost all the 15 countries in the region, a minimum of four Goal Projects had been achieved. He further explained that the implementation of the new FIFA Development Programme and FIFA Forward have already started.
“Although I believe that some benefit could be derived from hosting these offices. The Botswana Football Association will continue to access FIFA services available from the Johannesburg offices,” he explained.
Though did not say whether he will be relocating and continue working for working for FIFA he said: “In respect of my personal situation, after 16 years of manning the Gaborone office I believe now is an opportune moment to call time on my services to FIFA. I would like to believe that I have run my race.”