The Oceania Football Confederation celebrated the milestone achievement of the completion of the new Home of Football, with distinguished guests from across the footballing world attending the Inauguration of Te Kahu o Kiwa on Friday, October 21.
The Inauguration, which was delayed due to the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, comes after the Home of Football was completed in July 2021.
The Home of Football was built using funding from FIFA and international football development programme UEFA Assist, which contributed the funding from UEFA.
The inauguration included speeches from FIFA President Gianni Infantino, FIFA Council Member and Cyprus Football Association President George Koumas (speaking on behalf of UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin) and OFC President Lambert Maltock, along with a cultural performance and tour of the facility, which houses OFC’s New Zealand-based staff and serves as a welcoming home away from home for touring Member Associations.
In addition to the administration spaces, the facility has two artificial pitches and dressing rooms suitable for hosting elite matches.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the Home of Football symbolises so much for football in the region
“This home symbolises a lot. It symbolises a lot for many of us who were here a few years ago, who have been following this whole process,” President Infantino said.
“It is a day of joy, of happiness.
“Thanks to OFC’s hard work, commitment and resilience, to create this beautiful home, to create these pitches where the whole community of Oceania can come and play.
“Many, many children will be spending their hours during days and nights at these beautiful facilities.
“We are very proud to be witnessing this particular moment.”
President Koumas said: “It was President Ceferin’s vision that led to the creation of UEFA Assist back in 2016, the international football development programme which support confederations and their Member Associations in their efforts to develop the beautiful game, and the programme which provided a substantial part of the funding for the Home of Football Project,” Koumas said.
“UEFA trusted the new leadership [of OFC] to bring this project to its successful completion.
“The OFC can be very proud of what it has achieved in recent years.”
OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said the Home of Football was a concrete symbol of the new OFC and a reminder of the significant changes which have occurred at the confederation since 2018.
“This was an extremely special occasion for us at the OFC, and the Home of Football is a sign of how far we have come,” Castillo said.
“We were delighted to welcome members of the football family to our beautiful new home.
“Our sincere thanks to our special guests who joined us on the day.
“I would also like to acknowledge and thank Auckland Council and the Ōrākei Local Board for their ongoing support and the strong relationship they have built with the OFC over the last few years.”
OFC President Lambert Maltock said completion of the Home of Football was a key project outlined when he began his term in 2019.
“I’m so pleased to see this project through to completion and now to be here as Oceania welcomes members of the football family to enjoy our beautiful new home,” Maltock said.
“The Home of Football is integral to our long-term goals at OFC and to the elevation of professionalism in our region.”
The Inauguration followed the 28th OFC Ordinary Congress, which was held earlier in the day at the Auckland Muesum.