During her visit to South Sudan, the FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura last week, needed no invitation to laud the incredible direction the country has deliberately taken regarding the development of the beautiful game.
South Sudan, who only joined the FIFA family in 2012 (remains the youngest member country) has since taken important strides towards vitalizing football, despite episodes of war and political unrest that ravaged the East African country.
Speaking to the media on September 11, 2021, Samoura underlined that even though there is still a whole lot to be done, what has been done is notable and there is more to come.
“This visit was to identify challenges affecting South Sudan’s football in general and Women football in particular,” she stated.
Through the FIFA Forward Program, the country received funding for the rehabilitation of the Juba National Stadium, something that impressed the Senegalese football development expert.
“We have toured the National Stadium and I can say that FIFA is happy with the way the rehabilitation work is going. We are hoping it will be ready before the end of the year,” she added.
The FIFA delegation later watched a women’s football match at the Buluk training ground where they had meetings with the South Sudan Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Albino Bol.
“We had a close look at the evolution of women football in the country and despite FIFA’s funding, the technical part of it is limited by the minimum number of coaches,” she observed.
“For instance, a country as big as South Sudan should not be having South African coaches for the Women National team, this should be corrected,” she added.
“There are so many other challenges we found out with women football during the course of these two days but we are hopeful that they get sorted in time for the 2023 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia,” she concluded.
After the meeting with Bol, Samoura highlighted that FIFA will have to enrich the country with more funding for infrastructural development, in terms of stadiums and training facilities.
The FIFA Secretary General together with the body’s Chief Women Football Officer, Sarai Bareman are on a tour across the continent discussing football challenges and development.