The Northern Mariana Islands Football Association finally inaugurated its new home as officials of the local sports organization continued their push to develop the sport in the CNMI.
NMIFA opened its office last Saturday at 7pm with officials from the East Asian Football Federation, Guam Football Association, and local government, business, and sports chiefs in full attendance as they joined NMIFA officers in the office blessing.
The third floor of the newly built TSL building in Garapan will be NMIFA’s new headquarters on Saipan as they finally vacated their old office at the Marianas Visitors Authority.
One thing that would strike local and visiting football fans is the office’s interior with Germany’s Olympiastadion serving as the wallpaper.
NMIFA president Jerry Tan said his friend took the photo that was used for the wallpaper during the 2006 World Cup Final between Italy and France in Berlin.
Present during the inauguration were EAFF secretary general Takeo Okeada, EAFF deputy secretary Alexandre Rego, EAFF technical study officer Ichiro Fujita, GFA officials, CNMI Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez, and Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association Michael A. White.
GFA, which assisted NMIFA in its growing stages, came in full force led by president Richard K. Lai.
GFA secretary general Valentino San Gil, treasurer George Lai, board member Frank Angoco, and executive committee member Kent Shieh were also present in the event.
The opening was held after the CNMI Women’s National Team’s game against Guam in the Marianas Cup where they held their southern neighbors to a scoreless draw.
Tan said the office is not only for NMIFA officials’ use for administrative purposes but it is also open for holding coaching and referee clinics as well as classroom training sessions for new players.
GFA president Lai also announced in the inauguration that EAFF would also give $120,000 a year as assistance for football development in the CNMI.
Lai, who heads the EAFF finance committee, said that as a provisional member, the CNMI is entitled to receive the annual grant that would increase to $250,000 a year once the Commonwealth gets full FIFA membership.
He added that he hopes someday the Marianas Cup would expand in other Micronesian islands like Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia.