Fifa president Sepp Blatter will be among the many continental and international football figures who will be visiting Rwanda during the African Youth Championship due in Kigali.
The African Youth Championship is scheduled to take place from January, 18 to February, 1 2009. The local football governing body, Ferwafa however has not revealed the date for Blatter’s arrival.
According to the Federation’s chief executive officer Jules Kalisa, Blatter, 72 wrote to the federation informing them that he will be coming to grace the two week tournament.
Blatter is credited for being a champion of football development in Africa.
Fifa is to spend $70 million on projects to improve African soccer while the continent prepares to host the 2010 World Cup finals.
The installation of artificial pitches, introduction of professional leagues and administration and training of coaches and doctors form part of the ‘Win with Africa in Africa’ initiative launched last year.
An artificial pitch is to be installed in all but one of Africa’s 53 member countries, the only exception being World Cup hosts South Africa. A total of 21 have already been completed, most of them in national stadiums.
The project also supports the development of national leagues, with training and equipment. Similar projects had been launched for India, Oceania and the Caribbean.
The Goal Programme inspired by Fifa President Joseph Sepp Blatter was launched for the 1999-2002 period with funds amounting to Swiss Francs 100 million.
The programme then graduated to the Goal II stage, again with a similar amount available for the 2003-2006 period.
The programme targets to financially benefit underprivileged associations, by providing headquarters, natural and artificial turf pitches, training and education centres and other facilities essential to a basic infrastructure.
Fifa had targeted its member associations to have their own Houses of Football by the year 2006.
So far, 109 of the 248 projects in the pipeline have officially been launched, with a further 24 already completed. Such is the success of the programme that 66 member associations are already working on a second project.
Under the Fifa initiative of the Goal Project, Ferwafa headquarters and Technical Centre, a facility whose construction ended about two years ago, was built.
Since 1975 Sepp Blatter has been working at Fifa, first as Technical Director (1975-1981), then General Secretary (1981-1998) before his election as Fifa President in 1998. He was re-elected as head of Fifa in 2002, defeating Issa Hayatou in the election, and was re-elected unopposed for another four years on May 31, 2007 even though only 66 of 207 Fifa members nominated him.
Hosts Rwanda Mali, Cameroon and Ghana are drawn in Group A while South Africa is drawn in group B against favorite winners, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Fifa Under-20 World Cup hosts Egypt.
Rwanda opens the competition against Mali at Amahoro stadium on January 18, 2009 before another cracker sees Ghana taking on arch rivals Cameroon.
The Caf African Youth Championship is a major international football competition for Caf nations, played by Under 20 year-old players.
The Caf U-20 African Championship is held every two years with the top 4 teams qualifying for the Fifa World Youth Championship.
Until 1989 the African representatives were determined purely on a qualifying basis with no African title on the line. Since 1991 there has been a qualifying stage followed by a final tournament played by 8 teams in a chosen country.
Countries in the draw: The winner of the African youth championship will automatically qualify to the finals of the 2009 Youth World Cup due in Cairo, Egypt.