Wednesday 15 March 2023, 07:00

FIFA President praises ‘transformative’ leaders for their contribution to football

  • Gianni Infantino was speaking as His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco were honoured by CAF

  • CAF recognised both leaders by presenting outstanding achievement awards at a special ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda

  • The 73rd FIFA Congress will take place in the same city, on Thursday 16 March

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has praised the inspirational governance of two of Africa’s most prominent leaders at a special ceremony organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) – where His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco were celebrated with outstanding achievement awards. Addressing delegates, President Infantino used his speech to commend both heads of state for their inspirational leadership with regard to football development during their distinguished terms.

“We are here to celebrate two outstanding personalities, who have done incredible things for football,” President Infantino said. “As we know that football is the most important thing in life, they have done incredible things for life. The lives of millions and millions of people all over the world.” The FIFA President continued: “Because football is joy, football is happiness, football is pride. And, allowing and presenting and preparing the conditions for boys and girls, children and adults, to practise a sport like football is something that should fill all of us with pride and with joy. I would like to commend Dr Patrice Motsepe and CAF for having decided to organise this ceremony.” The glittering ceremony, which took place in the Rwandan capital Kigali, two days before the city hosts the 73rd FIFA Congress, was attended by a number of ministers, FIFA Council members, dignitaries, football administrators and diplomats.

Several top African and FIFA Legends were in attendance including Asamoah Gyan, Gaelle Enganamouit, Portia Modise, Amanda Dlamini, Khalilou Fadiga, Herita Ilunga, Pierre Webo, Lucas Radebe, Kwadwo Asamoah and Perpetua Nkwocha. President Infantino joined FIFA Vice-President and CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe to present the awards. President Kagame received his award in person, while Dr Chakib Benmoussa, Minister of National Education, Preschool and Sports in the Kingdom of Morocco received it on behalf of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

Citing his long-standing personal connection to Africa and Rwanda – and noting Morocco’s record-breaking run to the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, as well as its successful hosting of the FIFA Club World Cup 2022™, President Infantino ended by praising the visionary leadership of both men. “Like everything in life, when you want to be successful, you need to have a strong team with you, with a strong captain, with a strong leader,” President Infantino continued. “Both, President Paul Kagame, as well as His Majesty The King, are leaders who have transformed their countries, who have believed in their people, who have believed in their continent and who have believed in the force for good – that football can help to give to the people.”