Nigerians live football —Infantino

Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, takes a kick-off before an exhibition match in his honour between Abuja U-13 and Enugu U-13 sides, at the National Stadium, Abuja, on Monday. PHOTO: Nan.

PRESIDENT of FIFA, Gianni Infantino has described the passion Nigerians have for football as amazing, saying they live football as well.

He made the submission while speaking on Monday, during his visit to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, at the Senate President’s Conference Room, National Assembly, Abuja, as part of his two-day official visit to Nigeria.

Infantino stated that he was fascinated by kid-footballers showing their talents on the roadside.

“Nigeria is a great country in a great continent. I was impressed coming from the airport on Sunday and seeing so many kids playing football on both sides of the road. That shows Nigerians not only love football, they live football,” he said.

The Swiss football administrator, noted that the emergence of a woman secretary for FIFA for the first time, gave him joy as it also ensures gender balance.

“There is great passion and great tradition, but there is need for unity and stability. I was elected on pledges of reforms, transparency and to develop the game. I am happy that Ms Samoura accepted to be Secretary General and the Executive Council endorsed her, because her choice said something for inclusion, gender equality, diversity and the future that we promise,” Infantino said.

In his remarks, president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Pinnick reiterated that the visit, the first time that both the FIFA President and Secretary General would travel together on a non-football competition assignment, underscored the reckoning that Nigerian football commands globally.

He acknowledged the role of the National Assembly in re-defining Nigerian football development, saying that peace is key to true growth. He also recalled that months ago, the first football match was played in Maiduguri after a long time.