The Fifa secretary general was on a tour of Ethiopia where she underlined the huge positive potential the FIFA’s Football for Schools programme has for young people in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country.
Football for Schools (F4S) is run by FIFA, in collaboration with UNESCO, and aims to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of around 700 million children worldwide. It seeks to make football more accessible to both boys and girls worldwide by incorporating football activities into the education system, in partnership with relevant authorities and stakeholders.
While making a donation of football equipment to a sports facility for underprivileged young players in the Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa, Samoura pledged FIFA’s support to develop football in the city stating: “Since I arrived here I can see how people eat, sleep and breathe football. Through FIFA’s Football for Schools initiative we will assist the development of youth football in this city and hand in hand with the Ethiopian Football Federation, we will help to reinforce Dire Dawa’s football infrastructure.”
Samoura and her delegation also visited the Dire Dawa Youth and Sport Academy.
Established five years ago the Academy has over 120 young players, both male and female and provides an environment where children can play football whilst simultaneously receiving an education.
There the FIFA delegation presented the children with a substantial donation of football equipment, including jerseys and shorts.
Speaking at the Academy the FIFA Secretary General said: “It is a tremendous honour to be surrounded by so many passionate young footballers. I’m especially pleased to learn that the girls teams here are on the rise, with several of the female players having progressed to women’s leagues in Addis Ababa. We are thrilled to provide equipment to the Academy and we look forward to working closely with all the key stakeholders in Ethiopia to develop youth football further.”
Samoura’s was in company of a delegation from the Horn of Africa who included Sahle Work Zewde, the President of Federal Republic of Ethiopia, CAF Vice President and Djibouti Football Federation President Souleiman Waberi, Ethiopia Football Federation President Esayas Jira and Secretary General Bahiru Tilahun Limenih.
Ethiopia’s influence on African football history was an abiding theme during the delegation’s visit to Dire Dawa
The city’s Deputy Mayor Harib Bouh Warsama outlined plans to invest in a football turf pitch and academy, which will help develop the city’s Ethiopian Premier League club in future.