The German Football Ambassador Association (Deutscher Fußball Botschafter e.V.) celebrates its anniversary this year. The celebrations will take place at the Federal Foreign Office as part of the annual award ceremony on 19 May. This is the tenth time that the prestigious German Football Ambassador Award has been presented in three categories by the non-profit association of the same name. The nominees have been named in the main category.
This year, the expert jury nominated three candidates who proved their outstanding accomplishments abroad in various manners: Dr. Carolin Braun made a deep impression with a long-term project in Botswana, Jochen Figge is a veteran globetrotter who has been teaching football around the globe for 40 years, and Franco Foda has been a successful club and national coach for several years in Germany’s neighbouring Austria. They thus could be the possible successors to the 2021 award winner Uli Stielike in the category of coaches. They represent football personalities who have made a special contribution to sports and social development in their countries of activity and have therefore rendered outstanding services to Germany’s positive image in the world.
President Roland Bischof: “This years‘ nominees represent the ideas and values of our Award in very distinct ways, and I thank the jury for this year’s top three choice, who could hardly be more different from one another.”
Already in 2017, Dr. Carolin Braun gained experience in Gambia as a DFB Junior Expert in a short-term DOSB project funded by the Federal Foreign Office. She then headed the football department at the Technical University of Munich, before being sent to Botswana as the person responsible for a long-term project (2019 – 2022) funded by the Federal Foreign Office to promote sports structures in other countries. She mastered this challenge in an exemplary manner and enjoyed great recognition in the country. One of her main focuses was coach training and talent scouting. In addition, as Technical Director at the Botswana Football Association (BFA), she was responsible for the entire sporting development, as well as assistant coach of the men’s national team and advisor to the coaches of the women’s selection teams. Recently, she and the women’s team qualified for the Africa Cup for the first time.
The second nominee, Jochen Figge, was also active in Botswana. On behalf of the Federal Foreign Office (AA), the DOSB, the DFB and FIFA, he was involved in the development of football on five different continents. He has been engaged in numerous countries, from Nepal to Papua New Guinea, from Zambia to Trinidad-Tobago. Figge started 40 years ago in Guinea as a coach and “football development worker” and was only stopped in 2020 by the Corona pandemic in Belize. The prize money of his nomination will also go to a social project there. “The nomination as German Football Ambassador took me by surprise, which is a very challenging situation for me in these difficult times”, the former Werder Bremen player said.
This year’s nominations are completed by Austria’s national coach Franco Foda. Already during his active time, the former defender made his way to Austria to join SK Sturm Graz, with whom he became two-time champion, Supercup winner and Cup winner in the autumn of his career. After the end of his career as a player, he moved directly onto the coaching bench. As head coach, he was again able to win the Austrian Cup and an Austrian championship title. Foda was thus involved in all of Graz’s championship titles either as a player or coach.
The football coach, born in Mainz (Germany), has been successfully coaching Austria’s national team since 2017. Under Foda’s leadership, the national team won its first game at a European Championship Final and was only eliminated in the round of the last sixteen at the 2021 European Championship. The next big goal is to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which can still be achieved in an elimination against Wales despite a mixed group phase (the decisive World Cup play-off takes place at the end of March).
The previous football ambassadors in this category (main prize) were: Holger Obermann (2013), Monika Staab (2014), Jürgen Klinsmann (2015), Gernot Rohr (2016), Horst Kriete (2017), Gert Engels (2018), Jürgen Klopp (2019), Anja Zivkovic (2020) and Uli Stielike (2021).