FIFA President Gianni Infantino attended a stunning final day of the African School Champions Cup in Kinshasa, lauding “the beauty of football” and previewing a strong future for a tournament prioritising education and social development through football.
Mr Infantino was joined at the Stade des Martyrs by several distinguished guests, including CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, member association representatives and a group of FIFA Legends.
“I am a happy man tonight,” said the FIFA President. “Seeing those children smile, boys and girls, with joy in their eyes is wonderful. This is the beauty of football. DR Congo did a great job organising this event, which is the first edition of a fantastic competition that is going to become one of the biggest not only in Africa, but around the world too.”
The delegates witnessed Morocco becoming the inaugural winners of the girls’ tournament following victory over South Africa in the final, whilst hosts DR Congo were presented with the boys’ trophy by the FIFA President after a 3-1 success over Senegal. More than the results on the field, Mr Infantino hailed the long-lasting impact of the tournament in social, developmental and educational terms.
“The importance of involving schools is precisely to go beyond the game beyond only playing football and to include education too,” Mr Infantino continued. “FIFA has a program called Football 4 Schools, which helps all schools in the world through education and football. The game remains something magical, the unity, the fact that it’s girls and boys from all over Africa: it’s so beautiful.
“Everyone is very happy: we didn’t think it would be so successful. The Member Associations present here, all those who want to join us next year in this wonderful county, in this beautiful city of Kinshasa, the [Congolese] government, president [Félix] Tshishekedi, who I closely worked with to make this dream come true, the United Nations, AFD [French Development Agency], everyone is going to work even harder to make sure the party is even more beautiful next year.”