FIFA President Gianni Infantino has spoken of the need for football to strengthen its cooperation across the African continent, and has shown his support for the promotion of women’s football locally, following discussions with Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, and the President of the Moroccan Football Association (FMRF), Fouzi Lekjaa.
The FIFA President was speaking in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, following discussions that also looked at the country’s role in continental African football and the victory of the Atlas Lions, as winners of the CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN), earlier this month.
“It’s a pleasure to be here in this magnificent country where football is so strong,” the FIFA President said after the first series of meetings with FMRF officials. “I have already visited Morocco several times in the past and I noticed not only the passion for football but also the serious work of the federation, we are here to try find out how we can benefit even more from this work. The MoulayAbdellah Sports Complex in Rabat and the infrastructure in the whole country, this can benefit the country, the whole of Africa and beyond. This is why we are here, to see what else we can do through football infrastructures in Morocco to benefit men’s and women’s football, as well as youth football, and we will leave here with lots of ideas for programmes about the future.”
Subsequent discussions followed with members of the Moroccan government, where the FIFA President congratulated Minister Bourita on the success of the men’s national football team in their success in the CHAN tournament in Cameroon. The FIFA President also highlighted both the country and the FMRF’s initiatives to get more girls and women involved in football, and commended the recent launch of a four-year women’s football development plan, as a significant initiative to raise the value of women’s football by actively engaging girls at grassroots level in football.
“My talks with Minister Bourita were both interesting and productive, and I mentioned that Morocco is recognised as a leader in integrating more girls and women in football,” the FIFA President said. “There are many positive moves, from appointment of female referee Bouchra Karboubi in the domestic league last October, to the introduction of the new women’s football development strategy by the FMRF last summer.
“There are great opportunities here, and I look forward to seeing Morocco stake their claim for a place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. I informed the Minister that FIFA will help the federation in further developing and nurturing the women’s game throughout Morocco, so even more girls and women can become involved in football.”