Bolivian Football benefits from FIFA Forward Programme
The Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) improved the infrastructure of two affiliated Regional Associations through the FIFA Forward Development Programme
A total amount of USD 836,988.73 from the FIFA Forward Development Programme invested in both infrastructure projects
Renovated facilities aim to boost women's and youth football development in Bolivia
In the sixteenth century, Potosi was regarded as one of the first global cities, renowned for its silver mining and being at the cutting-edge of industrial innovation. Don Quixote proclaimed it as the "stuff of dreams". Then, as silver production slowed, some 200 years later, this high-altitude, remote part of Latin America became a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its global power was resigned to history.
With support from the FIFA Forward Development Programme, the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) is keen to give the city a new reason to celebrate - this time by renovating the local stadium "Departmental de Potosí" that was first built in 1958. The Potosi Football Association (AFP) will manage the outstanding facilities, a regional football association affiliated to the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF). The new artificial pitch and the fully reconstructed facilities, including stands, dressing rooms, and bathrooms, will be at the service for regional competitions, trainings for the 34 affiliated clubs, capacity building activities for referees and coaches.
To mark the occasion, the FBF and the AFP organized a grassroots festival for local academies, where more than 100 boys and girls came together to celebrate the power of football. Also, during the inaugural ceremony, traditional dresses, food, and dances were exhibited to commemorate the historic day.
Former Bolivia striker, Marco Antonio Etcheverry, was impressed by what he saw. "It's a beautiful pitch here in this city. We have two teams in the first division, and they didn't have great pitches that were easy to play on, so it was difficult to bring players through," he said. "Well, I never would have seen anything like this during my time [playing football], so to the children and young people: make the most of it and enjoy it. This is a dream come true for them."
Cristian Quiroga Villafuerte, FBF Development Director, said the local community had significantly benefitted. "Not only boys but also girls and teenagers are taking part in this grassroots football festival. It's also worth mentioning that in the city of Potosí, we only have two sports facilities that comply with all the pitch size regulations: the main stadium and this stadium, which belongs to Potosí's football association. So, there has been a very positive social impact.
"Before the implementation of the FIFA Forward project, we didn't have this pitch and couldn't hold matches. Now, we have training sessions in the morning and the evening, including those of the two professional clubs here."
Meanwhile, in the Pando region of Bolivia, women's football is a top priority. Cobija, the most isolated capital in the country, known for its extreme weather and for its proximity to Amazon rainforest, it is now becoming and important hub for the development of football. The FBF and the Football Association of Pando (APF) have done grand efforts to remodel FBF’s Technical Centre that was previously unapt and did not fulfil the standards deserved to enjoy the sport.
Thanks to the support of the FIFA Forward Programme, floodlights were installed, concrete stands were built, dressing rooms, bathrooms, and administrative offices were renovated to properly meet all requirements. In an area where temperatures are very high during most times of the year, having the possibility to play football during the night guarantees a safe environment for all players. While the Bolivian national teams could use it, the primary purpose of the Technical Centre is to provide state-of-the-art facilities for women's and men's regional competitions, as well as grassroots activities, in a bid to boost participation in the region.
For the inauguration, the Football Association of Pando (APF) took advantage of the proximity with Brazil to prepare a women's football match between the local team of Cobija and Du Bola F.C., a local club for the neighbour city of Brasileia.
FBF vice-president Marco Rodriguez said the new facility will have a hugely positive impact. "In Cobija, people have always followed football. We were born with a love for it. Thanks to FIFA, we have this stadium for the entire population, who has supported us for over ten years. This is something unprecedented, which we're not going to forget soon because this will allow us to train our children and improve women's and men's senior teams”.
"And we hope that they can build more, not only in Pando but everywhere else in the world of football. We know they have projects all around the world. This is why FIFA, right now, would like football to be our biggest asset".
Fernando Costa, FBF President, highlighted the importance of improving the Bolivian football infrastructure. “The renovation of the stadium in Potosi and the Technical Centre in Cobija, are clear examples of our commitment to improve conditions for football development. We aim to revamp Bolivian football by focusing our efforts on grassroots, youth, and women’s football”.
“Thanks to FIFA and to the President, Mr. Gianni Infantino, who are always helping us to transform our dreams into reality through the FIFA Forward Programme”.