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Last Updated: Friday, 15 April, 2005, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Blatter wraps up African tour
Photo courtesy of Fifa
The DR Congo centre will develop young talent
Fifa president Sepp Blatter ended a five-nation tour of Africa on Friday with a visit to Rwanda.

"The future of African football is in your hands or your feet, if you are a player," Blatter said at a news conference in Kigali, which concluded the six-day trip.

"All the national football associations have some homework to do, in order to take the development of the game forward.

"And, the best opportunity to promote African football worldwide, will come with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa."

Blatter's trip included stopovers in Chad, the Central African Republic, DR Congo and Burundi.

He pledged to continue Fifa's Goal Programme, set up in 1999 to assist cash-strapped national associations develop their administrative and playing infrastructure.

Fifty-nine projects in Africa are receiving financial support from the programme.

All the national football associations have some homework to do, in order to take the development of the game forward
Fifa president Sepp Blatter

"Africa was the first continent to benefit from Fifa's development programmes," Blatter said.

"From my very first day at Fifa - 30 years ago - I was personally in charge of these programmes.

"For me, it is a source of great joy to see the fruits of Fifa's development aid first-hand."

The tour was also seen as a bid to cement ties with the bloc which did not support his bids for the Fifa presidency in 1998 and 2002.

Blatter was particularly impressed with the technical centre in DR Congo, which was built to develop young players.

"This project is the best one among those I've visited so far. It's built on a wide space and its infrastructures are well shaped," Blatter said.

"The technical centre is an ideal place to raise young footballers. I believe it will help DR Congo prepare youth who will take the country back to its glory days."

The DR Congo was the first black African nation to qualify for the World Cup finals in 1974, the year it last won the African Cup of Nations.

Fifa's Goal Programme was launched in 1999, with a budget of US$83.3 million, for an initial three-year period.

It was renewed in 2003 for another three years, with similar levels of funding.

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