Oscar Harrison stepped down from his position as president of the Paraguayan football association (AFP) on 7 February. His successor is former vice-president Juan Angel Napout, who has been granted a four-year term of office. The 50 year-old businessman is the former president of Paraguayan club Cerro Porteno and has always been a supporter of his country’s national team. As for Paraguayan club football, he says, “The AFP is a rich governing body with clubs that are like poor relations. We must eradicate this inequality forever and strengthen the clubs.” Meanwile, his immediate objective for the national team is to “use the assets at our disposal to win the Copa America.”
Under Harrison’s presidency, Paraguay qualified for three successive FIFA World Cups (1998, 2002 and 2006), six world youth championships and the 2004 Olympic Football Tournament, at which they were silver medallists. Building work was another highlight of Harrison’s administration. The Defensores del Chaco stadium was renovated in 1997, as were the AFP’s headquarters and the Ypane High Performance Centre, which has set a new standard for facilities of its type. Harrison’s tenure also saw the opening of the Paraguayan football museum and the celebration of the association’s centenary.
Thanks to FIFA’s Goal Programme, Uruguayan football has been able to complete the renovation of the Charrua stadium, which was built as an alternative venue to the legendary Centenario stadium in 1984 and never fulfilled its potential due to severe structural problems. Located 20 minutes from the centre of Montevideo, just a few streets away from the attractive residential area of Carrasco, the Charrua stadium will stage local matches as well as some full international matches, involving the Uruguayan senior and youth teams. The main aim is to relieve some of the burden on the Centenario stadium. The Charrua is now in splendid shape, with a 12,000 capacity set to rise to 20,000, and is also due to have floodlighting installed