Following his two-day visit to Guatemala, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter arrived in Honduras on Monday afternoon for the second stop on his tour of Central America. Accompanied by Rafael Salguero, a member of the FIFA and CONCACAF Executive Committees, Blatter was welcomed by the President of the Honduran National Autonomous Football Association (FENAFUTH), Rafael Callejas.
The Republic of Honduras, as the country is officially known, is situated at the widest point of Central America, and has a population of almost eight million and a land area of 112,492 km². FENAFUTH was founded in 1951 and joined FIFA that same year. The country’s footballing achievements include qualification for two FIFA World Cup™ finals (Spain 1982 and South Africa 2010) and three UNCAF Nations Cup wins, in 1993, 1995 and 2011.
After arriving in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, Mr Callejas, Blatter and the rest of the FIFA delegation made their way to the Presidential Palace for an audience with President Porfirio Lobo. The three leaders discussed the organisation of football in the country and the youth training programme it has put in place, the objective of which is to get children from across the country involved in the game as soon as possible. “This project ties in with FIFA’s desire for football to help children enjoy a better education,” said Blatter.
The FIFA delegation then moved on to Mr Callejas’ residence, where day one of the FIFA President’s stay in Honduras came to an end with an informal dinner.
A base for growth
Blatter was up bright and early the following morning for a trip to the city of Siguatepeque, some 114 kilometres from Tegucigalpa. The reason for the visit was to open the National Team Hotel, phase one of the future national academy and which has been built thanks to the Goal Project and will provide accommodation for the country’s various national sides.
Joining Messrs Salguero and Callejas at the event were the Mayor of Siguatepeque Eduardo Oseguera, the General Secretary of FENAFUTH Alfredo Hawitt, Pablo Martel, a member of the family that previously owned the land on which the facilities are built, and a large group of children enthusiastically waving the national flag. Following the playing of the national anthem, Blatter looked on as Mr Oseguera made a speech in which he thanked FIFA for its support in developing youth football. The mayor then presented Blatter with a plaque bearing the city’s emblem.
It is a footballing home for the young people of Honduras.
“This is more than a hotel,” said the FIFA President. “It is a footballing home for the young people of Honduras, and I would like to take this chance to congratulate the national association on their work with youngsters, who are playing an increasingly prominent role in World Cups.” With that, Blatter unveiled the plaque commemorating the project and made a tour of the new facilities.
Returning to the capital, Blatter held a press conference during which he praised FENAFUTH for “their continued presence on the international stage”. He then ended his visit of the country by lunching with members of the Honduran football family before heading off to El Salvador for leg three of his tour.