Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) president Suketu Patel has questioned the continent’s football associations whether they have anything to show for grants amounting to $6 million (about K2.6 billion) which they got from Fifa in the last decade.
Patel was speaking at a three-day seminar in Johannesburg, South Africa, which has been attended by dignitaries from 26-member associations from across the continent that includes Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda.
“We must be grateful to Fifa,” Patel said, adding: “Each African member association has received around US$6 million in the last decade. This raises the question: What have we done with the opportunities that we have been given? Did we seize the opportunity to improve structurally, or were we content to still do the same as before, but more extensively?”
Patel’s remarks came against the background that most African associations divert Fifa funding meant for development to other things.
Patel thanked Fifa for the support it has given to the continent and called on African football associations to improve the way they operate.
“We must show our gratitude to Fifa by doing everything we can to all become, one day, self-sustainable and accountable,” she said.
However, despite reservations from some members of the soccer fraternity on whether FAM uses Fifa grants for intended purposes, the association’s president Walter Nyamilandu said: “We are one of the associations on the continent that has benefited largely from the grants and Fifa’s continued financial assistance.
“We get $250 000 annually, which is specifically for the development of women and youth football, refereeing and administration, then there are also special grants for technical development, and unlike other associations, we have managed to complete Goal Project I and II and we are in the process of finalising phase III while many are not even done with phase II.
“We also secured two artificial turfs, one that was laid at Kamuzu Stadium and the other one for Chiwembe ground. We now have a stable institution and I should admit that without Fifa grants, we would be finished,” said Nyamilandu.