Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, expressed his hopeful outlook for the future of the African Football League, emphasizing its potential to leave a lasting mark and serve as a source of inspiration worldwide.
Having witnessed the league’s opening match in Tanzania last October, Infantino attended the game at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday (Nov. 12), where Sundowns triumphed 2-0 against Wydad Athletic Club (WAC).
Infantino praised the league as a platform that brings the best talents together in a top-tier professional setting, addressing a crucial need in African football. He credited the collaboration between FIFA and CAF (Confederation of African Football), commending Patrice Motsepe and his team for their efforts.
In its inaugural season, the league featured eight esteemed clubs from Africa competing in a series of round-robin knockout matches. The ultimate winner was set to receive a substantial prize of four million dollars.
Highlighting the league’s significance, Infantino urged for African club football to elevate itself further, enabling the retention of exceptional players within the continent. He emphasized the importance of providing a high-level competition that not only unites Africa but also garners global recognition, reducing the need for players to seek contracts abroad.
The league’s grand finale between South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns and Morocco’s WAC drew a massive crowd of over 50,000 spectators, showcasing the tournament’s popularity.
Looking ahead, the African Confederation aims to expand the league to accommodate 24 clubs in the upcoming seasons, indicating its intention to foster growth and broaden the competition’s reach.”