By Boye Ajayi
President Gianni Infantino of the Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA),has arrived in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the first stop on an itinerary that will see him visit FIFA member associations in several African countries along with Heads of State and African Union (AU) Chairperson, Félix Tshisekedi, reports Persecondnews.
On arrival, the FIFA President was welcomed by the President of the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM), Ahmed Yahya, and travelled to the Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou to officially inaugurate the venue which was featuring a new artificial turf pitch that received FIFA Forward support.
“We have enjoyed some impressive youth football in a modern and well-equipped stadium which is a very good and concrete example of how FIFA Forward funds are used to develop football all over the world, and particularly in Africa,” the FIFA President said following the inauguration, which was also attended by Taleb Ould Sid´Ahmed, the Mauritanian Minister of Employment, Youth and Sports.
“FIFA is very proud that the FIFA Forward programme was used to invest in the new Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou which and is an excellent setting for the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations.
” I compliment the FFRIM and its President Ahmed Yahya, and also CAF, on staging this competition especially given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The competition is a great platform to showcase the amazing young talent of African football, and I look forward to seeing who will take the U20 trophy.
“This facility, both the stadium and the technical centre, are important facilities for the development of football in Mauritania, and I would like to thank FIFA for helping to make this project come to life through FIFA Forward,” FFRIM President Ahmed Yahya added.
Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou, along with Nouakchott’s Cheikh Boidiya Stadium and Stade Olympique, is currently hosting the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations, which runs from 14 February until 6 March 2021.
In staging the event, CAF also benefitted from FIFA COVID-19 Relief Fund support with funding provided for the maintenance and running of stadiums, as well as training of referees and security officers for tournaments.
On the pitch, CAF’s WAFU B champions Ghana recorded a 4-0 success against CECAFA runners-up Tanzania, before Morocco’s Young Atlas Lions, returning after a seven season hiatus from the competition, faced Gambia’s Baby Scorpions.