FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF Vice President Constant Omari, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, Development Director for Africa and the Caribbean regions Véron Mosengo-Omba, Regional Office Development Manager El Hadj Wack Diop and members of the FIFA administration travelled from Dakar, Senegal, after attending last night’s CAF African Football awards, to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
Upon arrival in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital city, the delegation travelled to the Presidential Palace to meet with President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. The meeting focused on the important unifying role that football plays in a multi-ethnic society, especially given Mauritania’s first ever qualification for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (AFCON). The meeting also provided a great platform to discuss an expanded FIFA World Cup™, as of 2026, and the ongoing consultations and discussions on its potential expansion as early as 2022.
Infantino expressed his appreciation to President Abedl Aziz for the substantial financial contribution the government is providing to the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (FFRIM), which will have a positive impact on the performance of the national team. He also spoke about the impressive 8,200-seat Chekha Boidiya Stadium, which has just been completed in Nouakchott thanks to funding from the FIFA Forward Programme.
Following the audience with the Mauritanian President, the delegation was shown local handicrafts and took part in a traditional Mauritanian tea drinking ceremony.
The next stop was the completely refurbished Chekha Boidiya Stadium where the FIFA President praised the excellent work of the FFRIM and its President Ahmed Yahya and their concrete achievements in developing football infrastructure in Mauritania.
Speaking at the official inauguration of the stadium which was attended by football fans, media and Minister of Youth and Sports Djinda Bal, the FIFA President said: “Firstly I would like to warmly congratulate Mauritania on winning the African Team of 2018 trophy at last night’s CAF African Football Awards. I also want to congratulate the FFRIM and President Yahya on the impressive work the federation has carried out under his strong leadership.
“It’s a great pleasure to be here today at the official inauguration of the Chekha Boidiya Stadium and we are very proud that the FIFA Forward Programme played such a big part in its refurbishment. The FFRIM is a great example of a successful and progressive member association and in fact I often refer to it in my speeches and encourage people to visit Mauritania to see for themselves. Mauritania’s historical qualification for this year’s AFCON is testament to FFRIM’s hard work and of course, after the AFCON there is the FIFA World Cup and I know that President Yahya has the ambition and willingness to take Mauritanian football to the highest levels!”
Following the inauguration of the stadium, the FIFA delegation departed for the Togolese Republic.