Official Opening of the NFA Girls Centre at the Namibia Football Association (NFA) on March 15, 2016
After the ground-breaking in 2014, the NFA Girls Centre was officially opened on the 15 March 2016 by the Honourable Agnes Tjongarero, Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, the NFA President Mr Frans Mbidi, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Namibia Mr Christian Schlaga, Mr Roland Lindenthal, Head of Division ‘Education and the Digital World’ of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Mr Dr. Rainer Koch, Acting President of the German Football Association (DFB) and Mr Hermann Korfmacher, President of the Football and Athletic Association Westphalia (FLVW).
The Namibian and German partners underlined the importance of the NFA Girls Centre as a safe space for young females to meet, be educated and make use of different sporting activities. Given the many benefits of football for young females, the NFA’s Women’s Department has been actively promoting the continued growth of women’s soccer in Namibia.
Many guests from politics, the sports fraternity, representatives of different sectors and HIV organisations attended the opening ceremony. Jackie Gertze, a member of the NFA’s Women’s Desk, extended a hearty welcome to the audience.
Mr Roland Lindenthal of BMZ highlighted the importance of sport for the achievement of development goals. He emphasized that the Girls Centre is a remarkable example of how different actors from sports, civil society and politics have worked together to create a safe space where young females, the most vulnerable in society, can develop freely.
Dr. Koch, acting president of the German Football Association (DFB), also stressed all the opportunities that football offers for young girls when it comes to empowerment, an understanding of gender equality and the importance of health issues. He ended his speech by saying: ‘Let the girls play!’
NFA’s President Frans Mbidi extended his thank you to the German Development Cooperation, the DFB and the FLVW for their ongoing commitment and support. He rates the new NFA Girls sports and community centre as a ‘milestone in the creation of a lifelong relationship between young females and football’.
The German Ambassador Mr Schlaga underlined the solid partnership between the German Government and the Republic of Namibia. He stated that Germany has committed approximately 800 million Euro (almost 13 billion N$) to Namibia’s development since 1990. Thus, Namibia has the highest per capita rate of German development cooperation in all of Africa.
The Deputy Minister Tjongarero emphasised the importance of young people for the realisation of the Namibian Government’s Vision 2030. The Girls Centre will help to ‘develop future generations of young females into citizens who reach their full potential and pursue successful careers’. Talented girls will now have the opportunity to train with qualified coaches in a healthy learning environment. This will ‘positively impact on the performance of the national football and the development of the individual, the community and the nation at large’, she said.
After the Vote of Thanks extended by NFA General Secretary Barry Rukoro, the dignitaries were invited to test their scoring skills in shooting at a wall specially constructed for that purpose. They competed with a player from the Brave Gladiators Zenata Coleman as well as the German national player and Galz&Goals Ambassador Ms Nia Künzer. The event was ended by a guided tour through the newly opened centre and a mini-tournament on the adjourning football pitch.