16 February 2017

Africa: FIFA Boss Coming to Uganda

Photo: Libération
Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

Kampala — Fifa president Gianni Infantino will make an historic visit to Uganda next week. Daily Monitor can exclusively reveal that the Swiss, who took over the reins of world football on February 26 last year, will mark his first 365 days in Kampala.

It will be the first time a Fifa president makes an official trip to Uganda. The 47-year-old, who will be in the country February 25-26, has developed a particular fondness for African football having flown to South Sudan on his first working trip as the head of the world's most popular game.

Fufa president Moses Magogo was visibly delighted by the development. "I'm overwhelmed," said the 41-year-old on phone from Doha, Qatar for a Fifa summit he is attending with the Fufa CEO Edgar Watson.

"Infantino's visit perhaps shows the level of recognition that Africa and the world is making of our work at Fufa.

"And we have duly engaged government to ensure that the Fifa president meets President Museveni to discuss more government involvement in football development."

The last 365 days were fulfilling for Uganda with Cranes finally qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in nearly four decades, a feat that saw the team recognized as Caf's 2016 National Team of the Year.

The national team's first choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango was also crowned as the best Africa-based player of the year 2016.

Fufa has also strengthened the secretariat, attracted multiple sponsorships, championed women's football, acquired a radio station, ensured sanity in the management of the league and embarked on capacity building courses for coaches.

But critics last year questioned the federation's legality and a section of irate former players vandalized the Fufa headquarters at Mengo.

It will not be the first time that Fufa has made an attempt to bring the Fifa president to Uganda. Five years ago the then Fifa head Sepp Blatter was scheduled to come to Uganda but the plan fell through.

It is expected that Infantino, who has known Magogo when the Swiss was Uefa general secretary, will lay the foundation stone for the Fufa-Kadiba ground project. The project will be funded under the Fifa Forward Project where Fufa will receive $5m over four years from the world governing body.

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