Friday 29 September 2023, 17:15

FIFA Secretary General concludes visit to Tahiti by attending OFC U-16 Women’s Championship final

  • Fatma Samoura discussed football development with government officials

  • Secretary General also had talks with Tahitian Football Association members

  • New Zealand beat Fiji to win the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship

Fatma Samoura has concluded her visit to Tahiti where she attended the final stages of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) U-16 Women’s Championship, met with several government and football officials and discussed football's part in helping sustainable development. The visit came one month after the end of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™, which is set to leave an extensive legacy and inspire girls and women players across the Oceania region.

The FIFA General Secretary saw the benefits of FIFA’s development programmes at first hand when she visited the new artificial turf pitch at the Tahitian Football Association (FTF) headquarters at Pirae, the latest step forward for football in the Pacific island. Funded by FIFA Forward, the pitch was inaugurated by Gianni Infantino in July when he became the first FIFA President to visit the nation. Football in Tahiti has developed and grown rapidly over the last few years and the island also has a strong tradition in beach soccer, having twice reached the final of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™, in 2015 and 2017, as well as hosting the event in 2013. The team are currently preparing for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2023™ in the United Arab Emirates in February.

“I want to thank everybody for a fantastic welcome in Tahiti, where I learned about the local culture and saw for myself how football reaches everywhere in the world,” said Fatma Samoura. "I was thrilled to meet the members of the FTF Executive Committee and talk about the remarkable growth of football in Tahiti. I also had fascinating talks with government officials about the part that football can play in society and in helping sustainable development. It was an enlightening experience."

Fatma Samoura witnessed the extent of football’s global reach when she travelled to the nearby island of Moorea and watched a local match between AS Mira and Tapuhute alongside Mayor Evans Haumani. Football’s importance in society, including the way it can empower women, was often discussed during her meetings In Tahiti itself. The importance of sport for a healthy lifestyle was among the topics when she met the Minister of Youth, Sports & Crime Prevention Nahema Temarii, while talks with Minarii Galenon-Taupua, Minister for Solidarity & Housing, included football’s role in sustainable development.

Football’s values can also help community building and this was one of the topics of her meeting with Lisa Juventin, Delegate for the Development of the Communes At the OFC tournament, the FIFA Secretary General saw Tahiti beat Tonga 5-3 in the third place play-off before watching New Zealand overcome Fiji 1-0 to win the tournament and qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup™ in the Dominican Republic next year.