Infantino’s bid for third term as Fifa president receives Cosafa backing

Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s attempts to secure a third term in office has received a significant boost after the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations [Cosafa] became the latest to back his re-election. A few days ago, the 52-year-old Swiss-Italian lawyer’s reelection received the backing of the Asian Football Confederation. 

Infantino confirmed his intention to stand for the presidency in 2023 at world football’s governing body earlier this year at the Fifa Congress in Qatar. Newly elected Cosafa president, Artur de Almeida e Silva, says the region will throw its backing behind the incumbent Fifa supremo, who “has repeatedly displayed his desire to grow African football”. 

On Saturday, the Angolan was elected as the new president for the next four years following the organisation’s Elective General Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia. At the General Assembly, the 13 associations that attended agreed to support Infantino in his bid for re-election in 2023.

“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.”

Artur de Almeida, who also serves as the president of the Angolan Football Federation, was the only nominee to replace the outgoing president, Dr Phillip Chiyangwa. Comoros Football Federation President Said Ali Said Athouman was the only nominee for the Vice-President position and was duly elected.

Artur de Almeida e Silva

Five Ordinary Members were also elected, namely Timothy Shongwe (Eswatini), Walter Nyamilandu-Manda (Malawi), Faizal Sidat (Mozambique), and Ms Brenda Kunda (Zambia) and Khiba Mohoanyane (Lesotho). The Cosafa Statutes state that one Ordinary Member must be a woman.

“I am delighted to have been given the trust and confidence of COSAFA nations to lead the organisation for the next four years,” Artur de Almeida said. “I must thank the outgoing leadership under President Phillip Chiyangwa for the excellent work of the Executive Committee since their election in December 2016.

“I am confident the future of Cosafa is full of potential, and I am excited to hit the ground running and grow the organisation in the coming years so that it may continue to serve football in our Southern African region to the benefit of all Member Associations.”

Of the 14 Cosafa Member Associations, only Zimbabwe was absent due to their current Fifa suspension, which bars them from football activities until lifted. The Elective General Assembly was attended by Confederation of African Football (Caf) President Patrice Motsepe, who urged Member Associations to work closely with their governments to grow the game.

“You can’t separate football and the economic growth of our countries. I am confident [for the future],” Dr Motsepe said. “We are about football. In Eswatini, Lesotho, in every country, part of what we have to do is make sure we get more funding and financing. Where government works together with our football leaders, we make progress. “We will never be able to develop the potential of football without financial backing.”

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