FIFA President Gianni Infantino completed his first official visit to Africa since his election to the helm of football's world governing body in Gabon, the country that will host the 43rd African Cup of Nations (AFCON) next year. His trip saw football development take centre stage.

‎In Franceville, one of the 2017 AFCON venues, the FIFA President attended the friendly match between the home team and Sierra Leone, alongside Gabon’s Head of State Ali Bongo Ondimba and CAF President and FIFA Senior Vice-President Issa Hayatou. The closely contested match saw the hosts defeat the Leone Stars 2-1.

Just before the game, ‎the 2017 AFCON mascot, a black panther named "Samba", was unveiled in an entertaining ceremony full of rhythm, serving as an appetiser for next year's event.

‎President Infantino's visit to Gabon also gave him the opportunity to catch up with one of the players who was at the Home of FIFA on 29 February for the friendly game he had organised to kick-off his mandate, namely former Portugal star Deco, who is currently involved as a consultant for Gabonese‎ football.

Next week, President Infantino will embark on a three-day trip through South America.