“This campaign shows that football has a power that extends far beyond the pitch. With the support of fans, sponsors and well-known public figures, we aim to build 20 Football for Hope centres and fulfil our promise of giving something significant back to Africa and leaving a lasting legacy after 11 July.”

Those words, uttered by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, encapsulate the present and future objectives behind the 20 Centres for 2010 programme, which forms part of the Football for Hope movement sponsored by FIFA and streetfootballworld.

One of the centres will be built in the Namibian capital of Windhoek, alongside the existing Special Olympics Namibia (SON) complex, which runs programmes designed to offer adults and children with learning disabilities, the victims of severe discrimination, an education and basic services.

In addition to sporting facilities, the new centre will be equipped with computers and will run courses on the dangers of HIV/AIDS, a disease that has spread widely throughout the region.

Though work on the centre is well under way, the first stones were laid at a special ceremony this Friday. Attending the event were the Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Shifeta Pohamba, the Secretary General of the Namibian Football Association Barry Rukoro, the head of the First National Bank (FNB) Foundation Mrs Katharivi, and former international footballer Michel Dinzey, along with several sportsmen and women, volunteers from the SON programme and the local media.

The honour of laying the six symbolic bricks at the site fell to the programme’s president Inge Zamwani-Kamwi, the sports agent Deon Namiseb and the aforementioned guests, who were assisted in their task by a worker from the centre.

A central plank in local development
The FNB Foundation then presented a sponsorship cheque for 80,000 Namibian dollars (approximately $12,000), which will go towards the purchase and installation of an artificial pitch. In addition Mr Pohamba announced that the centre’s electricity and water bills would be paid by the state.

Representatives of Special Olympics Namibia and the Katutura Community, where the centre is located, then spoke of the significant impact that it will have in the local area.

The ceremony was followed by a gala dinner to raise funds for the centre, its future users taking the opportunity to explain how it will assist in the development of their community.

Situated on the north-western border of South Africa, Namibia is just one of the countries benefiting from the 20 Centres for 2010 programme. The official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the initiative aims to harness sport to improve access to education and healthcare in deprived communities across Africa and get local people playing sport. With the construction of these 20 centres, the campaign will leave an important social legacy for the continent of Africa.