FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF Vice President Constant Omari, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, Development Director for Africa and the Caribbean region Véron Mosengo-Omba, regional office Development Manager El Hadj Wack Diop and members of the FIFA administration travelled to Mauritania from Dakar, Senegal, where they had attended last night’s CAF African Football Awards.
Upon arrival in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital city, the delegation headed to the Presidential Palace to meet with the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. The meeting focused on the important unifying role that football plays in a multi-ethnic society, especially in light of Mauritania’s qualification for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019, the first time that the country has qualified for the competition. The meeting also provided a great platform to discuss the expanded FIFA World Cup™ as of 2026 and the ongoing consultations and discussions on its potential expansion as early as 2022.
Infantino expressed his appreciation to President Abdel Aziz for the substantial financial contribution that the government is providing to the Mauritanian Football Association (FFRIM), which will have a positive impact on the performance of the national team. He also spoke about the impressive 8,200-seater Cheikha Boïdiya Stadium in Nouakchott, which has just been completed thanks to funding from the FIFA Forward Programme.
Following the audience with the Mauritanian President, the delegation was shown local handicrafts and took part in a traditional Mauritanian tea ceremony.
The next stop was the completely refurbished Cheikha Boïdiya Stadium, where the FIFA President praised the excellent work of the FFRIM and its President Ahmed Yahya, and their tangible achievements in developing football infrastructure in Mauritania.
Speaking at the official inauguration of the stadium, which was attended by football fans, media and the Mauritanian Minister of Youth and Sports, Djindah Bal, the FIFA President said: "Firstly, I would like to warmly congratulate Mauritania on winning the Men’s National Team of the Year trophy at last night’s CAF African Football Awards. I also want to congratulate the FFRIM and President Yahya on the impressive work that the federation has carried out under his strong leadership."
"It’s a great pleasure to be here today at the official inauguration of the Cheikha Boïdiya Stadium and we are very proud that the FIFA Forward Programme played such a big part in its refurbishment. The FFRIM is a great example of a successful and progressive member association and, in fact, I often refer to it in my speeches and encourage people to visit Mauritania to see for themselves. Mauritania’s historic qualification for this year’s AFCON is testament to the FFRIM’s hard work. Of course, the next step up from the AFCON is the FIFA World Cup and I know that President Yahya has the ambition and drive to take Mauritanian football to the highest level," he added.
Following the inauguration of the stadium, the FIFA delegation departed for Togo.