By Celestine Okorie, South Africa and Chinedu Nwosu, Lagos
FIFA and the African Union have agreed to launch a schools football competition following a meeting in Kinshasa between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, who is also the current Chairperson of the African Union (AU).
The two presidents, who had initiated discussions last week by videoconference, met at the Palais de la Nation in the DRC’s capital to further their productive talks of the previous days, and central to their exchange was the need to use the power of football to improve lives and to harness the possibilities it offers to instil positive values in young people.
On this subject, both the FIFA President and the AU Chairperson agreed to use the framework of the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the African Union, FIFA and CAF, to organise schools football competition across Africa, which will kick off in the DRC. To initiate the project, a protocol was signed this afternoon between FIFA and the Ministry of Sports and Leisure of the DRC.
“President Tshisekedi is passionate about football, and I’m delighted that we can work together to give hope to all children across Africa thanks to football,” the FIFA President said at the conclusion of the meeting. “Together, FIFA, AU, CAF and our member associations will develop competitions and training for the youth through football, because football is more than a sport, it is a school of life. Through football, you can teach respect for adversaries and rules, learning how to play as a team, how to win and lose. With this schools championship we plan to make these values, which are already strong in Africa, even stronger.”
Subsequently, the FIFA President also had the opportunity to visit the offices of the Congo DR Football Association (FECOFA) and to meet with FECOFA President Constant Omari, the FECOFA executive committee and several representatives of the football community of Congo DR.