FIFA President (www.FIFA.com) Gianni Infantino underlined the importance of unity between member associations, regional organizations and continental confederations in his speech to the Annual General Meeting of the Council of Associations African Football Association (COSAFA) in Johannesburg, South Africa, before attending a meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town.
“COSAFA is very important in this part of the world and as part of the FIFA Forward program, in which we have provided strong support to zonal organizations.” said the FIFA president. “Nevertheless, we can and want to do more, so we must be united and work together in a true spirit of cooperation.”
The FIFA president stressed that African football should seek to prepare at optimal levels for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will see the number of African teams participating in the competition increase from five to nine or ten.
“Doubling the number of teams participating in the World Cup is crucial because it can have an impact on young people and the whole football community as it gives many more countries a concrete chance to qualify. This can trigger investments from governments and the private sector, which can help member associations to further develop football in their respective countries, ”he added. “For African teams to not only participate, but also to shine on the world stage, the work must start now. Africa must be united to reclaim what it gave to world football, and that can only happen if we all work together.
Subsequently, in Cape Town, the FIFA President discussed the importance of football as a vehicle for positive development of society with President HE Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and former President of the African Union (AU). The meeting also touched on Saturday’s productive meeting with the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and current AU President Felix Tshisekedi and the imminent launch of a Pan-African football tournament in schools.
The two presidents also spoke about the unifying power of football across the continent, while stressing the importance of South Africa as a football hub in the region, one of the reasons FIFA decided to set up one of its four regional development offices in Africa there.
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