Speaking during the 13th CAF Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo, FIFA President Gianni Infantino assured delegates that FIFA will continue to support the continent as a priority and highlighted the crucial role African football will play in the future of the game.
Last year, the FIFA President promised to “project African football to the top of the world” and laid out plans for FIFA and CAF to raise a minimum fund of USD1bn to make solid and sustainable infrastructural investments in Africa.
Speaking in Cairo on Friday, the FIFA President emphasized the importance of these investments.
“We are more committed than ever to making sure that we obtain these 1 billion U.S. dollars for the investment in infrastructure in African football, because this is what African football deserves,” the FIFA President said.
“This is really the year of collaboration, of partnership, of unity between us. We have committed to that; we have committed to invest in infrastructure in Africa.”
Alongside such investments in infrastructure, FIFA understands the importance of more competitive, regular football for the development of football on the pitch in Africa.
Two topics up for discussion at the CAF Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo were the consultation on the International Match Calendar (IMC) and a proposed Pan-African Super League.
Arsène Wenger, Chief of Global Football Development, was also in attendance to discuss the IMC and the possibility of a biennial FIFA World Cup. Wenger wants to see African teams playing at a higher level, more often.
“It is important that you have access to top level competitions, that Africa has, more often, the access to compete at the top level. It is a huge contributor to improvement,” said Wenger.
“I defend this project because it is to make football better and more competitive.”
The FIFA President spoke about the particular importance of consultation with African stakeholders due to the youthful make-up of the continent.
“We need to protect football, and we need to make sure that football remains relevant for our young generation. And I would say particularly in a continent like Africa, where 40% of the population is below 15 years of age,” he said.
“We need to think about the future, we need to think about how we can make our sport more enthusing, more relevant for the young generation, which today has many other things to focus on.”
The FIFA President also reiterated FIFA’s support for a possible new club competition, the Pan-African Super League. “Count on the full support of FIFA, of course, when developing club competitions and a Pan-African Super League for the future of African football” he said.
The CAF Extraordinary General Assembly comes off the back of a highly successful inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League tournament in Cairo.
South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies were crowned the first ever champions, beating Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies in the final.