The FIFA President Ghana visit was aimed at finding out ways to best develop football in Ghana.
President of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), Gianni Infantino was in Ghana on Monday, 27th February, 2017 for a one-day working visit. Mr. Gianni Infantino with his entourage arrived at the Kotoka International Airport at 8:45 am.
Members of Infantino’s entourage included Musah Bility, the Liberian FA president, Congolese Verron, Head of FIFA operations in Africa, Mathias, FIFA Chief of staff, and Madam Yasmin, a staff at the FIFA office. They were given a warm reception by the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association, led by the GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi.
After the reception, the World football governing body’s boss called on President Nana Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House where they had a private meeting to discuss very vital issues as it concerns football in Ghana in relation to Africa and the world. They also looked at ways the government and FIFA can liaise to bring about improvement in Ghana’s football development.
Done with the President, Gianni Infantino proceeded to a brief meeting with the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA). Following that, a brief Press conference was held at the GFA Conference room to give journalists an opportunity to interact with the FIFA boss.
From there, the FIFA President headed to the Accra Sports Stadium to inspect the national sports facility. He finally left the country at 1:30 pm.
Key Issues Raised At The FIFA President Ghana Visit
The FIFA President raised several issues during his few hours visit – all bordering on the development of football in Ghana, Africa and the world. Below are the most interesting ones you may have missed.
Ghana Contributed Significantly To World Football
The FIFA President eulogized Ghana’s football, saying that they have contributed so much to world football history, legend and myth.
“…The Black Stars are a significant part of the history of world football”, Mr. Infantino said.
Mr. Gianni Infantino said that the Ghana Football Association must be a leader in football, not only in Ghana and Africa but in the world. During his interaction with Nana Addo, the FIFA President said that Ghana has been a good example being looked up to in the world of football.
He expressed desire to make Ghana serve as a catalyst for change and reform for football development; adding that the country is full of talents, passion, and is also a big football country. He therefore stressed that the GFA must [be made] to play a leading role in the world of football.
The FIFA Boss who said he always back his words with action promised that the international football association will work well with the government of Ghana to develop the game. He then asked for government’s cooperation to see to the achievement of the proposed reforms and goals of FIFA for the country. Akufo-Addo pledged government’s full support while thanking the FIFA boss for including Ghana as one of his target countries.
Investment in Developmental Projects Increased
Mr. Infantino disclosed that within one year of being the FIFA President, he has worked to bring about a significant increase in FIFA’s investment in developmental projects in her member association from $24 million to $94 million.
He expressed readiness to help develop football in Africa so as to give the continent a good place in the international football association. Infantino has since increased Africa’s world Cup slots from five to seven. He also promised to pay Ghana a more relaxed visit in the future during which he will be more detailed in his discussions on the way forward.
Akufo-Addo a Big Fan of Football
Gianni Infantino was overjoyed when he realised that President Nana Addo is actually a passionate football lover. Akufo-Addo had told him that Ghanaians are very passionate fans and followers of football, both local and international. The President also told the FIFA Boss that he has been an “unrepentant” supporter of the Spanish club Real Madrid, as well as a big fan of Kumasi’s Asante Kotoko.
Nana Addo’s choice of Madrid and Kotoko as his favorite is really a gret taste as the two clubs rank as the best and most successful in their respective jurisdictions. In 2007, Asante Kotoko and Real Madrid were named the African club of the century and the world club of the century, respectively by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, based on their performances in a period of 100 years.
Reports also reveal that Nana Addo is not just a football lover but was once a player in his youthful days. One of such reorts reveal that the President once played for the ‘Ambassadors’, the second/B team of the now defunct Ghana league side Real Republikans.
Briefly About Gianni Infantino
Giovanni Vincenzo “Gianni” Infantino is a 46-year-old football administrator. He has been the general secretary of UEFA since 2009, but was elected FIFA President on 26th February, 2016.
Born in Switzerland of Italian parents, Infantino holds dual citizenship -Swiss and Italian. He speaks six languages – Italian, French, German. English, Spanish and Arabic. He is married to Lebanese Leena Al Ashqar, and they have four kids.
Infantino is has been touring FIFA Member Associations around the globe to share ideas on his new vision of developing the game of football. The FIFA President Ghana visit is his first in the country since he became the world football association boss in 2015. He has been to some other African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.