FIFA delegation attends talks on welfare of Congo DR women's national team

A FIFA delegation led by Secretary General Fatma Samoura met with Congolese Football Federation (FECOFA) officials - including the Interim President, Vice Presidents and members of the EXCO, as well as the Minister for Sport and Leisure and the Special Advisor to the Head of State - on Saturday 23 October.

The discussions, which took place in a respectful and convivial atmosphere, were held following the forfeit of a qualifier for the CAF Women's Africa Cup of Nations by Congo DR's senior women’s national team, the ‘Female Leopards' - a situation which led to the players expressing frustration and anger.

A majority of the national women’s squad were in attendance for the meeting and expressed their disappointment at the manner in which the team had been treated by the country’s sporting authorities.

In her remarks to the FECOFA, the FIFA Secretary General expressed her regret and displeasure about the prejudice inflicted on the young players, due to improper coordination among local authorities and the mismanagement of logistical operations.

Madame Samoura emphasised that it was unfortunate for a football nation as important as Congo DR to see its national women’s team disqualified from the Women’s AFCON in such a brutal and unfair manner after months of preparation and sacrifices, also due to the prevailing tensions between FECOFA and the office of the Minister for Sport and Leisure.

In talks, guarantees were provided by the government that better mechanisms would be put in place between the Office of the Minister and FECOFA, and that female players would be given the attention they deserve, with their well-being also prioritised.

After the meeting, the players expressed their thanks and recognition to the FIFA Secretary General and FIFA delegation for holding open and frank discussions which helped ease tension and restore trust between players, FECOFA and the government.

The prize money due to the women's senior team will be paid to them in the coming days following payments already made up front to cover part of the players’ transportation costs.