Additional investment and commitment for further support were some of the key messages delivered by FIFA president Gianni Infantino on his visit to the Sudanese capital Khartoum. The FIFA President notably met with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, with the Minister of Youth and Sports, Yousif Adam Aldai, and with the President of the Sudan Football Association (SFA), Kamal Shaddad.
The visit provided an opportunity for the FIFA President and his delegation to revisit the strong football history of Sudan. A founding member of CAF, along with Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa, Sudan was CAF’s first headquarters, and also played host to the first-ever African Cup of Nations in 1957.
“Sudan was a founding member of CAF, and has been one of the first African nations to join FIFA,” the FIFA President said at Khartoum Stadium, the venue for the 1957 African Cup of Nations tournament. “Now we must work together, to bring the success of the past to the future. I can guarantee that FIFA will work closely with the whole football community in Sudan, with women and men, to continue to develop football and to bring Sudan back where it deserves to be, at the top of African football.”
The stadium visit was followed by a meeting with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Yousif Adam Aldai, where central to discussions was the need to restore Sudan’s rich football heritage and the ways in which FIFA could best support the country to further develop and strengthen football through the FIFA Football for Schools programme, as well as providing funding to refurbish the Khartoum Stadium.
“I was saddened when I visited Khartoum Stadium and witnessed its current state,” the FIFA President said when subsequently speaking to members of the media. “This is an historical venue and we need to protect and cherish its history. We will invest and work together with the government and the SFA to make everyone in Sudan proud of the stadium again.”
“We spoke with the Chairman of the transitional sovereignty committee about investment in football, because there is incredible talent in the country to be developed,” the FIFA President added. “We spoke about football being part of the school system and about women’s and girls’ football – a very important area of the game. The Sudan Football Association is already doing excellent work in this regard, and it can only increase once combined with the continued support of the Sudanese government and FIFA. We are all part of the same team, and we will all work together and show that we care about the people of Sudan and football here.”
During the visit, the FIFA President also attended a women’s football training session at the academy located next to the SFA, and had the opportunity to meet with members of the teams.