FIFA President Gianni Infantino has returned from a ten-day tour of Africa, enjoying a summit with Member Association presidents from around the world - including many from the continent itself, as well as touching down in nine countries.
Discussing the implementation of the FIFA Forward programme and supporting the associations to help continue the growth of African football, President Infantino began the trip with the three-day summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Featuring two separate day-long forums, the discussions presented the opportunity for national association heads from three different confederations to talk directly with the FIFA President and various other FIFA officials on how the needs of the African continent and individual nations could best be served.
The tour continued with trips to Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, Chad, Ghana, Niger and Mauritania. The visits across these eight countries gave the President the chance to meet members of the nations’ footballing communities, see for himself some of the projects taking place across the continent and share his vision of football with those being impacted. It also presented the opportunity to show how FIFA’s development programme FIFA Forward could potentially provide means to cooperate in the future.
"In the wake of the Johannesburg Executive Summit, it was a pleasure to visit several African Member Associations and see how much of an everyday passion football is," said President Infantino. "I could see how the implementation of our Forward programme has had a concrete and positive impact on the daily lives of those who love football. This is naturally a source of pride, but even more so it is a source of encouragement to keep on working. The activities carried out by our member associations on the field are remarkable.”
During his journey around the continent, as well as meeting football and government officials across each of the nations visited, President Infantino helped lay the foundations at a training complex in Uganda and the Hotel of the Rwanda FA, while inaugurating a hotel at the national training centre in Niger. "This reflects your pledge of availability, put forward in your manifesto, to serve the world of football," President of the Fédération Nigerienne de Football, Djibrilla Hima Hamidou said.
“This trip was also an opportunity for me to learn more about the constraints, the needs and the challenges faced by some countries in order to allow as many people as possible to gain access to football, and to make progress within it,” President Infantino continued.
“I was also pleased to see the level of commitment of governments that believe in football and its development projects. It opens up prospects for cooperation and gives us even more enthusiasm in our daily work with our member associations."