FIFA are closing down their regional office in Botswana and moving it to Johannesburg as new president Gianni Infantino continues his reshuffling of the organisation. Hundreds of staff members have left the service of world football’s governing body since the end of the Sepp Blatter era and Infantino’s election win last February. The latest is long-serving FIFA development officer for the southern African region‚ Ashford Mamelodi of Botswana after his office was taken out from under him. FIFA are looking for a replacement to run things in Johannesburg‚ where they are also searching for new premises. The regional office in Gaborone was a legacy of the days when Ismail Bhamjee still sat on FIFA’s powerful executive committee and Mamelodi was his faithful lieutenant at the Botswana Football Association. The pair also launched Cosafa.
The choice of South Africa would seem to be more cost effective because of easier travel links across the region. Former Premier Soccer League chief executive officer Kjitel Siem‚ now one of Infantino’s inner circle and the FIFA strategic director‚ was in Johannesburg recently to start arranging matters. The development office runs various projects across the region‚ including FIFA’s investment in individual country’s footballing infrastructure in the form of the GOAL project.
Mamelodi had overseen matters in the region for more than a decade and was a popular figure in the footballing community. (http://dailytimes.co.za/)