FIFA president wants more African teams at SWC
26 July 2016, 08:18
Abuja - FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Monday he hopes Africa gets two more spots at the World Cup if his proposal for the tournament to be expanded to 40 teams goes through.
There are presently 32 finalists for the World Cup with Africa represented by five teams.
Infantino, elected in February this year, arrived in Abuja on Sunday on a two-day visit to Nigeria.
He is accompanied by new secretary-general Fatma Samoura, who until her appointment in May headed the UN Development Programme in the West African country.
"I believe for the 2026 World Cup, we should have 40 teams and out of the additional eight teams we should have at least two more African teams," Infantino told reporters in Abuja.
"We are discussing this and I hope I will be able to convince everyone as well."
Infantino who earlier met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, described him as "a friend of football".
The FIFA chief said he regards Nigeria as the bedrock for the development of football on the continent.
"I foresee Nigeria as a bedrock for the development of the game in Africa, however infrastructure, stability and security are needed to make this happen," he said.
During his visit, Infantino met with 18 federation presidents across Africa and also attended the final of a national youth tournament.
Nigeria is seen as one of the giants of African football even though its national side, the Super Eagles, failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the second time in succession.