The fifth FIFA Regional Development Office in Africa has been opened in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo.
The office will further FIFA’s commitment to support its member associations in the delivery of infrastructure, competitions, development and education projects.
The trip to Brazzaville also included separate meetings for the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino with the President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso.
The Congolese Minister of Sport Hugues Ngouélondélé, and the President of the Congolese Football Association (FECOFOOT), Jean-Guy Mayolas, attended the meeting.
“It is very important for FIFA to be present here today to listen to our member associations in central Africa and work together,” Infantino said at the ceremony.
“We are doing this with the FIFA Forward programme that helps member associations, and that investment has been multiplied by five since I arrived at FIFA. We are here today with the staff of our regional development office to help the member associations, also together with CAF, to work hand-in-hand to tackle the challenges we face in the region.”
“We increased the number of African national teams eligible to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2026 from five to nine or ten. So there is work to be done so that African teams don’t just participate in the FIFA World Cup 2026, but shine there,” he added.
“FIFA wants to see African football reach the highest of heights and we are certain that our network of regional offices will complement the work already underway to elevate African football.”
In 2017, FIFA took the decision to establish FIFA Regional Development Offices around the world in order to better serve its member associations and to be closer to their needs.
Four of these offices are located in Africa: Dakar in Senegal, Johannesburg in South Africa, Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo and Kigali in Rwanda.
Following the official ceremony, FIFA President met with the FIFA team working at the regional office, which is also located in the same building as FECOFOOT.
The team has been operational since November 2020, but due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the office could not be officially inaugurated until today.
Prior to the inauguration, the FIFA President met with Hugues Ngouélondélé, the Minister of Sport, to discuss how to elevate African football to the highest levels on the world stage.
This was before a second meeting at Brazzaville International Airport with President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Discussions with Nguesso focussed on the important role that football plays in the country and across the region.
The discussions also dwelled on the recent success of the men’s national football team, the Red Devils, who reached the quarter-finals of last month’s CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN).
“Today’s meeting with President Sassou Nguesso was extremely positive and we are delighted with the strong support both he, and the government of the Republic of the Congo, has provided this new facility,” the FIFA President said.
“Passion for football is very strong here, and we hope to encourage and develop the game even further through our new office.”
Source: FIFA statement