Desbon Bushiri, FURD's head of football development, is set to leave the project. Desbon has been deeply involved with FURD ever since arriving in the UK in July 2000 from war-torn Burundi, first as a brilliant young footballer, then as a qualified FA coach and more recently in his role as head of football development at FURD.
Desbon has also led the ground-breaking Football Between Communities programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2007, and this work was recognised in 2008 when Desbon represented FURD at the Score4Africa awards at a reception at the Houses of Parliament, receiving the Diversity award from Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba.
Further recognition of Desbon’s contribution to the work of FURD came in 2007 when the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, paid this tribute to Desbon in his book, ‘Britain’s Everyday Heroes’ :
‘I found Desbon’s story particularly moving, because in helping so many people to make changes in their lives, he has been able to build a new life for himself; in helping others participate in their communities, he has found his own community’
Regretably the closing down of the Community Programme at the Football Foundation in December 2010 drastically reduced the funding to FURD’s football development programme, and Desbon’s departure has eventually proved unavoidable.
Former FURD Director Howard Holmes commented:
‘Desbon’s parting will leave a big hole at the heart of the FURD organisation. His personal development has mirrored the progress made by the project over the past 12 years and in particular his contribution to the success of the annual All Nations tournament for refugees and asylum-seekers has been tremendous. He has built up so many friendships from communities across Sheffield and he will be much missed by us all.’