With the new leadership at OFC, a new door could potentially be opened for non-OFC and FIFA members in the Oceania region. Now the Kiribati FA are saying the Oceania Football Confederation will come for a visit later this year.
“Just recently I have received an email that OFC is coming, the second half of this year,” Martin Tofinga, interim President of the Kiribati FA, tells Radio Australia.
He says the regional governing body of football will be coming to look at the situation in the Micronesian country.
“They are coming for a scoping visit, they are doing some research. We must get prepared for their arrival.”
- BACKGROUND: Kiribati: Fighting for FIFA membership
KIFA, like their neighbours Tuvalu have been without OFC funding for several years now, without getting a reason why, despite them being an associate member to the organization.
“I really don’t know what happened to that (the funding). I don’t know why we’ve been ignored.”
New stadium to be built
But now, they have the Kiribati government’s backing according to Tofinga.
“We are very much supported by the Ministry of Sports. Every day we have a dialogue with them. In recent times I think our relationship with the department is not that close.
“But this year they are really encouraging us so that we can get full membership of OFC and FIFA,” Tofinga says.
Tofinga also says the Bairiki National Stadium, which has a pitch made of sand and not grass, will be torn down and a new one will be built.
The lack of a proper stadium to host matches has been one of the most dominant issues as to why they have not been allowed into the OFC and FIFA previously.
Hopefully, the new stadium will mean one less hoop to jump through.