Wednesday 10 July 2024, 13:30

FIFA Forward helping COSAFA countries maintain momentum

  • A number of teams at recent COSAFA Cup 2024 benefitted from FIFA Forward support

  • Initiative supports FIFA’s 211 Member Associations’ (MA) football development projects

  • FIFA Forward 3.0 will provide each MA with up to USD 8 million through to 2026

The FIFA Forward Development Programme had a major role as the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup 2024 was played out among 11 COSAFA members and guest participants Kenya.

The trophy was claimed by Angola after they defeated Namibia in the final in Gqeberha, South Africa, but a number of the other teams competing in the tournament had been able to reap the benefits in pre-tournament preparation of FIFA Forward, which supports the football development projects of FIFA’s 211 Member Associations.

The third cycle of the FIFA Forward Development Programme will provide each member association with up to USD 8 million through to 2026, which is seven times more than they received when the initiative was established in 2016. It will also provide zonal/regional associations such as COSAFA with up to USD 5 million to organise men’s, women’s and youth competitions.

COSAFA is a region with significant potential in men's and women's football, and competitions are key for its development. It gives countries an excellent platform to develop players, team spirit and style of play, as well as giving youngsters the experience of derbies in the region.

"For COSAFA member countries, the FIFA Forward program is a real godsend," said COSAFA Vice-President Saïd Ali Saïd Athouman. "It makes it possible to finance a large part of the Federations' activities. This programme contributes significantly to the development of football and the progress of all its players, particularly countries with more fragile economic positions."

The tournament also marked an opportunity to further the training of the region’s referees in the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system while the match officials selected for the Olympic Football Tournaments 2024 were invited to take charge of games in the competition ahead of the Paris Olympics (24 July – 10 August).


The men’s national team fine-tuned their preparations for the tournament on the artificial turf pitch installed at the Lekidi Technical Centre using nearly USD 400,000 in FIFA Forward funding. FIFA Forward also provided almost USD 480,000 to the Botswana Football Association to set up an independent top men’s league, a project that also benefitted from advice from the FIFA Professional Football Department. With FIFA Forward also funding the restart of regional leagues in the country, notably following the COVID-19 pandemic, with a subvention of over USD 297,000 the initiative has been a major catalyst in raising standards country-wide.


The Lesotho Football Association has been able to provide the beautiful game with a solid, state-of-the-art platform thanks to FIFA Forward. Their headquarters and technical centre in the capital, Maseru, hosts national team camps in preparation for major tournaments, such as the COSAFA Cup, after work was completed on constructing a gym and changing rooms as well as the installation of an artificial pitch thanks to more than USD 700,000 in FIFA Forward funding. Spectator seating was also erected and the LeFA main office building renovated using a further USD 314,000 in funds.

Malane Thabang of Lesotho


Inaugurated by FIFA President Gianni Infantino during a visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago in April 2023, the Seychelles’ national teams make use of the artificial pitch installed thanks to USD 580,300 in FIFA Forward funding at the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) technical centre at La Retraite. FIFA Forward provided a further USD 564,500 to bring Stad Linité, the national stadium, closer to achieving Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards and enabling FIFA World Cup or CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers to be played there. The SFF has also used USD 1.7 million in FIFA Forward funding to build strong roots for the game in the country, underpinning the development of its top two leagues with performance-related payments and helping to cover clubs’ operational costs.

Ryan Henriette of Seychelles celebrates with teammates


FIFA President Infantino and Secretary General Mattias Grafström were able to see for themselves on their June 2024 visit to Zambia the positive impact FIFA Forward has had on football development in the country. Approximately USD 100,000 was used to host the 2019 COSAFA U-20 Championship and prepare the U-20 team for that tournament and two players in the 2019 squad also competed in the 2024 edition. Infrastructure has been a key focus of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) with almost USD 300,000 in FIFA Forward money revamping the David Kaunda Stadium. A further four projects – three stadium renovations and the construction of a FAZ Accommodation Centre for players and technical staff – are currently underway thanks to close to USD 1.2 million in FIFA Forward support.


Comoros climbed to an all-time best 119th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men's World Ranking at the end of 2023 and reached the semi-finals of the COSAFA Cup 2024. While the national team has excelled on the pitch, the Comoran Football Association has – with the help of the FIFA Forward Development Programme – ensured standards are also being raised right across the game in the country. FIFA President Infantino took part in the ceremony to inaugurate a new pitch at the national technical centre in Mitsamiouli, which is being renovated thanks to FIFA Forward support, when he visited in April 2023. Pitches across the archipelago, notably on Mohéli and Anjouan islands, were laid with FIFA Forward help, while training courses for coaches, referees and club officials were also held.

Mahamoud Adel of Comoros