Tuesday 21 March 2023, 22:15

Women's football at the heart of Fatma Samoura's visit to Senegal

  • FIFA Secretary General returns to Senegal for a four-day visit

  • The development of women's football was at the heart of her first day

  • Fatma Samoura was welcomed by the Minister of Sport and visited the FSF headquarters and technical centres

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura began a four-day visit to her home country Senegal today, Tuesday 21 March 2023. A reception at the office of his Excellency the Minster of Sport Mr. Yankhoba Diatara was first on her agenda, before a visit to the Senegal Football Federation’s new headquarters where she met FSF President Augustin Senghor accompanied by a delegation from the FIFA regional office based in Dakar, and Sarai Bareman, FIFA Chief Women's Football Officer. Five years ago, Senegal-born Samoura visited the capital to sign an agreement between FIFA and the Senegalese government to set up a regional development office for West and Central Africa in Dakar. FIFA's regional offices are intended to implement and coordinate all FIFA development activities in the regions concerned, in particular by helping regional member associations to carry out their development projects and to implement the FIFA Forward Programme locally.

This time, the development of women's football was at the heart of discussions. While the achievements of the Lions of Teranga, recent winners of the CAF African Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship and the CAN U20, were of course mentioned, the FIFA Secretary General expressed the hope that everything would be done to ensure that their female counterparts would benefit from the same support, so that they could achieve similar success in the near future. "First of all, it was a question of congratulating Senegal for all its victories in recent months, and to find out how this dynamic in men's football could be used to benefit women's football," she explained. "The aim of this visit was also to provide the Minister and the Federation with the assurance that FIFA will be at their side to develop women's football."

FIFA's Women's Football Division can certainly play a role in this process. And that is precisely what its Chief Officer Sarai Bareman said today in Dakar. In particular, the idea of a stadium dedicated entirely to women's football was discussed, and a clear goal set: qualification for the 2027 FIFA Women's World Cup. Visits to the "Jules Bocandé" and "Guéréo" technical centres were also on the Secretary General's agenda. These centres, designed to train the country's young talent, impressed the FIFA delegation with the quality of their infrastructure. Improving the competitiveness of young players is, moreover, one of the FSF's main concerns, and it has created national championships reserved for young players with the help of the FIFA Forward Programme.

To conclude the opening day of the visit, the FIFA Secretary General was invited by Mr. Amadou Gallo Fall, President of the Basketball Africa League to attend the match between Union Sportive Monastirienne and the Association Sportive Des Douanes. Senegalese internationals Sadio Mané and Kalidou Koulibaly were also at the game, and the FIFA Secretary General presented Mr Fall with a pennant, football, and a commemorative jersey. Tomorrow, the Secretary General will head to the Island of Gorée, where the inauguration of a new pitch is scheduled. The visit will conclude on Friday when The Teranga Lions, reigning AFCON champions will look to maintain their 100%-win record in Group L when they take on Mozambique at the Me Abdoulaye Wade de Diamniadio Stadium in Dakar. The African continental showpiece event will be hosted by Cote D’Ivoire next year.