The president of the International Football Federation (Fifa), Gianni Infantino, praised, Thursday in Abidjan, the performance of the Atlas Lions at the World Cup (Qatar 2022) during which the national team of Morocco has reached the semi-finals.
The FIFA President praised the Atlas Lions during the 45th Ordinary General Assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) held Thursday in Abidjan, in the presence of Patrice Motsepe, President of CAF , the Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi Jerôme and presidents of African federations, including Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF).
Gianni Infantino hailed, on this occasion, the legends and champions of Africa for the magnificent page of football they offer to the continent and to the world. “Our role is to provide you with infrastructures so that you can shine in competitions”he added.
“African football is flourishing, and I say this with a big smile. I am delighted because together we have worked hard to make this a reality,” Infantino said, while assuring that “the best is yet to come”.
The FIFA President is delighted to see the number of African countries participating in the World Cup almost double from the next edition in 2026.
“For the first time in history, 9 or even 10 African countries will participate in the World Cup. Which is very significant. Before I was elected president, FIFA was investing in African football over a 4-year cycle to the tune of $70 million. Today, we are investing more than half a billion”said Infantino adding: “We need to invest in club football like we do with national teams”.
For him, the ultimate goal is to make African football even stronger and more competitive. This through a talent development program for which more than 200 countries have already applied.
“We have to make sure that African football clubs and African national teams are the best. Talent is not a problem in Africa. We have so many all over the continent. We are going to make sure that every talent in every country in the world is detected and is supported, supported”said Gianni Infantino.
For his part, CAF President Patrice Motsepe stressed that “Morocco’s qualification for the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is the first such feat achieved by an African nation”. It demonstrates a strong improvement in the competitiveness of African football at the global level and allows us to believe that our objective, that an African nation wins the World Cup, is within reach, he notes.
The CAF president also said he was proud of the historic results obtained by Morocco, as well as the performances of Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia and Ghana, during the Qatari World Cup.
In addition, Motsepe highlighted the success of the CAN (U23), organized in Morocco and won by the Lionceaux de l’Atlas against Egypt 2-1.
He also highlighted that a “record audience of around 46,000 people attended the final of the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (“Women’s CAN”) Morocco 2022 in Rabat, welcoming Nigeria’s qualification , Zambia, Morocco and South Africa at the FIFA Women’s World Cup (Australia and New Zealand 2023).
“We firmly believe that the success and growth of football on the African continent depends on the success and growth of the game of football in each country of our Member Associations”, he noted.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the President of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF), Yacine Idriss Diallo, welcomed the holding on Ivorian soil of this Ordinary General Assembly of CAF.
The Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi, for his part, welcomed “the masterful success of the World Cup in Qatar” and the key “excellent” of Gianni Infantino in world football.
Patrick Achi then assured that Côte d’Ivoire, host country of CAN 2023, will “to organize one of the most beautiful African Cup of Nations in football” and the country will keep its promises. In August, CAF receives the sports infrastructure for the competition.