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Akinfenwa Timothy
lagos State University
300Level, Nigeria.

FIFA yesterday signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Benin Republic aimed at promoting the health of the youths of the country through football. The agreement was a fall-out of FIFA President, Gianni Infantino’s visit to the West African country shortly after a similar tour of Togo.

In the FIFA delegation were, CAF Vice President, Constant Omari, FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, Development Director for Africa and the Caribbean regions, Véron Mosengo-Omba, Regional Office Development Manager, El Hadj Wack Diop and some members of the FIFA administration.

Upon landing in the capital of Porto Novo the delegation was greeted by Benin Football Federation (FBF) President Mathurin De Chacus, Benin’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aurélien Agbénonci and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Oswald Homeky, as well as some football fans who had painted themselves in the colours of the flag of the Republic of Benin and who welcomed the FIFA President and his delegation with enthusiasm.

The official agenda kicked off with a visit to the Presidential Palace for an audience with Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin.

Speaking while receiving the delegation, President Talon highlighted the objectives of the unprecedented strategy for the promotion of sport in schools currently being implemented by his government and under which football plays a major role.

“I’m convinced that football has a unique power to shape society and overlooking this power is a big mistake,” said President Talon.

“The people of Benin are very passionate about football and it’s the responsibility of the country’s leadership to create the right conditions for football to grow and flourish. Under its new sports strategy that I am spearheading, Benin will invest in the building of 56 sports stadiums, 22 of which are already under construction.

“We intend to use the value of football as a game changer for our youth and we encourage FIFA to pay special attention to Benin by accompanying the efforts of the Benin government. I’m strongly committed to writing a new chapter in the history of Benin football with the support of FIFA and CAF.”

During their talks, Infantino shared details of FIFA’s Football for Schools initiative with President Talon, saying it will be pilot-tested in several African countries with Benin one of the first in Africa to benefit from this initiative.

Infantino also praised the hard work of FBF President, Mathurin De Chacus since his election in August 2018 and underlined FIFA’s readiness and willingness to provide the necessary support to help sanitise football and provide technical knowledge for the building and renovation of football infrastructure.

Source: https://guardian.ng/sport/football/fifa-signs-historic-mou-with-benin-republic/

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