Tuesday 26 November 2019, 20:12

President Infantino visits Lesotho

As part of a broad tour of several African countries, FIFA President Infantino was in Lesotho today. The visit was marked by an audience with His Majesty King Letsie III and Prime Minister Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, where fruitful discussions were held on the role football can play in the country, particularly as an effective tool for education - a key priority of the government.

“I am so deeply moved to be in Lesotho and to witness the amazing passion the people of this country have for football," said Infantino. "We know football has a social role and we are investing a lot and will invest even more in bringing football's values to young people. Values like respect, team spirit, equality, inclusion, solidarity, while at the same time promoting a healthy life."

Prime minister Thabane said: “We are so happy to see you and your delegation here in Lesotho. Football is not just a game; it’s a way of life and having people participate in it can help us address many challenges.

"We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that we become involved in the world community by our actions and behaviour, both privately and in sport. This is much more than a visit. It’s a moment that reminds us that we are supported by FIFA and the international community in making things happen.”

This was the first time Infantino had managed to visit the mountainous southern African kingdom. Alongside a high-ranking delegation including CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad, FIFA Secretary General and General Delegate for Africa Fatma Samoura, FIFA Legend and special advisor to CAF President Samuel Eto’o and FIFA Foundation CEO and FIFA Legend, Youri Djorkaeff, the FIFA President also met the Lesotho Football Association leadership headed by President Salemane Phafane.

Discussions focused on the efforts of the LFA to further develop the game in the country, particularly with several initiatives to improve the football infrastructure with the support of FIFA’s Forward programme.

“We are writing a beautiful page of football here in Lesotho," Infantino added, addressing the media. "What has been done here in the past few years by the team of LFA, headed by Salemane Phafane, is fantastic and more can be achieved by continuing to work together. You are truly living football in the kingdom and I thank you for bringing hope and smiles to your children and for making your country and Africa proud.

"You might have a small territory but you have a big heart and even bigger passion for football. Your matches against Ethiopia and Nigeria showed how much potential there is and we are looking forward to working even closer together with you to take football higher than the mountains that mark your beautiful landscape."