I mentioned TOMS shoes because I believe that the buy-one-give-one model is usually not helpful. Giving sometimes does more harm than good. 50 years ago, many African countries had booming textile industries. Most of those have completely collapsed because they can't compete with the flood of donated second-hand clothes from the west. Our good intentions have been ultimately harmful.
Your argument seems to be that since footballs don't contribute to development, then this project won't do any long term harm or good. That just seems like a great shame to me - if we're going to invest all this money and effort, can't we find something to do that brings long term good? And something that won't perpetuate the common western view of places like Africa of hungry kids needing handouts.
But you're right that asking won't always yield the best solutions - let's say then you should spend sometime getting to know the place you want to help. Not convinced that has happened with this project.