WINDHOEK (Reuters) – The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) has thrown its weight behind incumbent Gianni Infantino ahead of FIFA presidential elections next year, an indication that he will enjoy widespread support across Africa.
New COSAFA president Artur de Almeida e Silva made the announcement on Saturday in the presence of Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe.
“We believe Gianni Infantino represents the best candidate to lead global football for another four years,” Artur de Almeida said.
“He has repeatedly displayed his desire to grow African football and has backed up his words with action.”
Infantino is likely to stand for a third term as president at the 73rd FIFA Congress next year. He was re-elected unopposed in 2019.
Angolan Artur de Almeida was also elected unopposed on Saturday as president of COSAFA, which is made up 14 national associations of Southern Africa, a sizeable voting bloc.
The fact the announcement was made in the presence of Motsepe is likely indicative of more widespread support for Infantino across the continent.
Motsepe took the opportunity of COSAFA’s Elective General Assembly to re-iterate CAF’s support for holding the Soccer World Cup every two years, a controversial idea that has drawn sharp criticism from Europe and South America in particular.
“We have supported and will continue to support having the FIFA World Cup every two years and the reason why is very simple,” Motsepe said.
“I need more money for football development in Africa. We need resources, so it is a no-brainer for us.
“When I talk to people who don’t support it, they don’t need money as much as we do. They say to me, ‘we’ll get money in other ways’.”
(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)