Three more CONCACAF national associations have seen projects under the FIFA Goal Program come to fruition over the past week, with two facilities inaugurated and opened, and ground broken for a third.
Complexes in Haiti and Nicaragua were inaugurated, while work was symbolically begun in the Dominican Republic, with completion set for November 2002. The opening of the facilities in Haiti and Nicaragua bring to four the number of completed GOAL projects in the Confederation, along with the inauguration of complexes in Bahamas and Montserrat earlier this month.
HAITI: Attended by government officials, club representatives and supporters, the new Centre Technique National for the Fédération Haitienne de Football was inaugurated Saturday 27 April in Croix-des-Bouquets, a suburb of the capital of Port-au-Prince. The ceremony was officiated over by FC President Jack A. Warner, FIFA Development Officer (Caribbean) Keith Look Loy, FHF President Yves Jean Bart and Raul Magana, Confederation representative to the FIFA Goal Bureau.
For the moment, only the first phase of the project has been completed. The facilities presently available for use include an administrative office, an auditorium with seating for 300 and a dormitory that will house up to 32 persons in 16 air-conditioned rooms.
The completion of the first phase means the federation will have the ability to house at least the national team as well as ensure the holding of meetings and seminars for coaches, referees and commissioners.
In his remarks opening the facility, President Warner described the FHF Centre as an integral aspect of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter´s vision, intended to ¨level the international playing field” among all of FIFA´s 204 members. He assured the gathering that the GOAL-financed Centre will allow Haiti to recapture some of its past football glories.
Haiti’s Minister of Sport, Herman Nau, wondered how many talents had been lost due to the fact that a Centre such as the one now completed by GOAL did not exist in the past. The government of Haiti assisted FIFA in the realization of the project by the contribution of the land on which the Centre has been constructed.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: A FIFA GOAL project in yet another CONCACAF member nation was inaugurated 26 April with the ground breaking at the Centro Nacional de Desarrollo just outside the city of San Cristóbal in the Dominican Republic. In all 21 FC countries have been approved for GOAL projects.
FC President Warner, presiding over the ceremony, said the event was “one more important step in the global realization of President Blatter’s vision of a future in which all national associations, including those considered by some to be ‘unimportant’ have the capacity to develop the game.”
FIFA Development Officer Keith Look Loy conveyed FIFA’s pleasure at the donation of 25 acres of land by the federal government for the project. He pointed out the mission of the GOAL Project, intended to provide technical and financial resources for the development of the game to those national associations most in need.
GOAL funding will finance the construction of the first phase of the development facility, which will include administrative offices for the national association and classrooms for the training of technical staff. Technical facilities, including several fields and a dormitory, will be built in the latter stages of the project, which should be completed by November 2002.
NICARAGUA: The first FIFA GOAL Project in Central America was inaugurated on Sunday 21 April in Diriamba, Nicaragua when the "Escuela Nacional de Talentos del Fútbol 'Negro Julio’," was opened in the mountain town about an hour’s drive from the capital city of Managua.
The inauguration ceremony capped a wonderfully festive day where many townspeople, including hundreds of children, lined the streets to greet Jack A. Warner, president of the CONCACAF, who was on hand to officiate at the opening of the complex. President Warner filled double duty, also standing in for FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, urgently called back to Zurich.