Monday 27 February 2023, 22:00

Expanded opportunities for Africa tops agenda as heads of FIFA and SAFA meet

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Danny Jordaan meet to discuss development opportunities

  • The President of the SAFA outlines the opportunities provided by the next FIFA World Cup™

  • The meeting took place at the hub of FIFA’s Member Associations team in Paris.

The opportunities created for African football by the expanded 48-team FIFA World Cup 2026™ were high on the agenda as FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Danny Jordaan, President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), met in Paris to discuss football development. As part of the FIFA President’s Vision to make football truly global, and to give every talent a chance, the new format will see the number of places for African sides increase from five in 2022, to at least nine – with a possible tenth qualifying via a playoff – when the tournament travels to Canada, Mexico and the United States in 2026. Mr Infantino said: “It is always a pleasure to spend time with President Jordaan – and to be able to discuss something that FIFA is deeply passionate about; increasing global competitiveness across all our competitions.” President Infantino continued: “Later this year we will see 32 teams compete for the first time at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and in 2026 we will have 48 teams – including the possibility of ten from Africa. This presents an enormous opportunity for African football, and it was great to be able to discuss this today.”

Adding his own comments to the day’s discussions, President Jordaan said he agreed with President Infantino – and that the increased format can only be of benefit to every nation in Africa. “It’s an extraordinary challenge,” he said. “But I think it’s a platform to raise the level of competition, the profile of global football, and, also, from a revenue generation [point of view], I think it’s a huge opportunity.” President Jordaan also praised FIFA and Mr Infantino for the successful delivery of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ - the first time the tournament was staged in the Middle East, and highlighted the importance of taking the tournament to every corner of the world. “Because South Africa hosted the first African World Cup, I was keen to listen to him [talk] about the Middle East’s first World Cup,” he added. These things are important because it demonstrates the growth and development of football all over the world. As FIFA says, [they aim] to make the game truly global, and to make the game truly global we must not only play the game, we must also host nations in our continents and in our countries.”