Sunday 20 October 2019, 13:12

Infantino makes historic first visit to Brunei Darussalam

Embarking on a week-long tour of Asia, FIFA President Gianni Infantino made a stop in Brunei Darussalam today, being the first FIFA President in history to do so.

The visit included a very busy programme with meetings with the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) leadership as well as an audience with the Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah.

This was followed by a discussion with the Brunei football community and review of key football infrastructures and grassroots activities.

President Infantino and his delegation, which included FIFA Foundation CEO and 1998 FIFA World Cup champion Youri Djorkaeff, FIFA Deputy Secretary General Football Mattias Grafström and FIFA Director Member Associations for Asia Sanjeevan Balasingam, held fruitful discussions with NFABD President Prince Sufri Bolkiah on the state of Brunei football and development initiatives of the association. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan was also present.

In its development efforts, the NFABD is focusing on the improvement of football infrastructures and youth competitions, particularly with investments in the development of a national training centre. As the FIFA President visited the centre, which was funded in part by FIFA’s Forward programme, he had the opportunity to meet and exchange a few passes with grassroots and youth national team players.

Alongside his discussions with the Brunei football community, President Infantino also met the Crown Prince, himself having played as a goalkeeper in the country. Infantino notably stressed the importance to further develop football in the country, particularly focusing on the youth, boys and girls, as well as the impact projects with the FIFA Foundation could have in the country. He also illustrated the recently launched Football for School project, a social initiative targeting schools all around the world.

“I am here to show my appreciation and to thank the Brunei football community, particularly the serious and professional work of the NFABD for what they are doing for our sport, and to also encourage everyone to do more and to further invest in football in the country,” Infantino said while addressing the local media ahead of his departure from the country for the penultimate stop of the tour in the Philippines.

“Football is progressing, and growth can be achieved by increasing the opportunities to play at all levels, notably by improving the existing competitions and creating new ones in the whole region.”​