Wednesday Nov 27, 2019. 14:00
FIFA president Gianni Infantino continued his charm offensive across Southern Africa with a stop in Lesotho on Tuesday, who he says have made great strides in the game in recent years.
The tiny Mountain Kingdom has a population of just over 2-million, but often punch above their weight in international football and Infantino says that is down to the ground-work laid by the local association.
“I am so deeply moved to be in Lesotho and to witness the amazing passion the people of this country have for football,” Infantino said. “We know football has a social role and we are investing a lot and will invest even more in bringing football’s values to young people. Values like respect, team spirit, equality, inclusion, solidarity, while at the same time promoting a healthy life.
“We are writing a beautiful page of football here in Lesotho. What has been done here in the past few years by the team of LFA, headed by Salemane Phafane, is fantastic and more can be achieved by continuing to work together.
“You are truly living football in the kingdom and I thank you for bringing hope and smiles to your children and for making your country and Africa proud.”
Lesotho started their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with a worthy point away in Sierra Leone and a 4-2 home loss to powerful Nigeria, a game in which they led early on.
“You might have a small territory but you have a big heart and even bigger passion for football,” Infantino added. “Your matches against Ethiopia and Nigeria showed how much potential there is and we are looking forward to working even closer together with you to take football higher than the mountains that mark your beautiful landscape.”
The FIFA president will visit Madagascar, Mozambique, Lesotho, Angola, DR Congo, Congo and Malawi, on what is essentially a promotional tour as he consolidates support on the continent.