Gianni Infantino Is Actually Pleased To See The New African Football League Introduced

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Patrice Motsepe

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says he sees the new African Football League (AFL) as an incredible and viable approach to taking African football to a higher level. He referenced this when he was tending to people gathered in Cairo, Egypt, for the draw of the continent’s competition’s debut release.

The AFL is the most recent aftereffect of the successful partnership between the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA, and its debut format will unite eight of Africa’s most popular and effective teams determined to feature the quality of the game on the continent.

“At FIFA, it is our mission to make football truly global, and we have always believed in the development of football in Africa, something our FIFA Forward programme has helped underline,” said Mr. Infantino in a recorded video message. This competition is a great and effective way of taking African football to the next level, and that is something I am personally delighted to see.”

The draw, highlighting teams from across the whole continent, was as per the following: Simba Sports Club (Tanzania) v Al Ahly FC (Egypt), Tout Puissant Mazembe (Congo DR) v Espérance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia), Enyimba Football Club (Nigeria) v Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco) and Atlético Petróleos de Luanda (Angola) v Mamelodi Sundowns FC (South Africa).

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According to Mr. Infantino, the competition would encourage domestic and foreign investment in African football, provide the ideal platform for the continent’s top clubs and players to compete against one another, and engage more fans worldwide. It would also set the norm for supported improvement, availability and inclusivity in Africa.

“We have had just two African finalists in the history of the FIFA Club World Cup,” said the FIFA President referring to Tout Puissant Mazembe and Raja Casablanca, runners-up in 2010 and 2013 respectively. “This competition will help these teams develop the footballing and financial muscle to consistently match – and perhaps then defeat – the very best the rest of the world has to offer.”

The 2023 competition starts with quarter-final ties played on a home-and-away basis, and the semi-finals and final will also be contested over two legs.

The opening ceremony and the first match will take place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 20 October. The semi-finals will be played between 29 October and 1 November, with the final on 5 and 11 November.

Meanwhile, the next edition of the African Football League will be expanded to feature 24 teams representing over 16 different countries.

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