COSAFA held a fruitful Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg on Sunday, where FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino was a special guest to congratulate member associations on the astonishing growth of the game in the region in the last few years.
Other invited guests included South Africa’s Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, and Confederation of African Football (CAF) presidential candidate Dr Patrice Motsepe, while South African Football Association President Dr Danny Jordaan also welcomes attendees as the host association.
“This AGM comes on the back of a global pandemic and it is challenging times,” COSAFA President Dr Phillip Chiyangwa. “COVID has ravaged the Beautiful Game, preventing many players from playing football I this time.
“As such we have strategized, and we have not failed, in 2020 we held four consecutive tournaments over a span of six weeks, thanks to Dr Danny Jordaan.
“I must also applaud the Minister, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, for his support of our tournaments in Nelson Mandela Bay at the end of last year.”
Mr Infantino spoke of the importance in the next four years for the continent, including detailing the increased number of participants for African nations at FIFA tournaments.
“We all have to work for unity, to bring everyone in Africa together,” Mr Infantino said. “I said this to you at the CAF congress. We are all FIFA, we have to work together to have a united Africa, for global football’s sake. Africa needs to start to get back what it has given to world football.”
Crucially, COSAFA member association aligned the organisation’s statutes with those of CAF, but retained its independence.
COSAFA have also created a new Ethics Board that will act in line with FIFA and CAF statutes, while crucially the Executive Committee will henceforth include at least one woman.
Members also adopted the financial reports from the last fiscal year, as well as the budget for 2021 where COSAFA has set out an ambitious calendar to host as many as 10 tournaments.
This will include the addition of a Women’s Club Champions League, an exciting new chapter in COSAFA’s history.
This has been made possible, in part, by FIFA Forward money, as well as the support of the Confederation of Football (CAF) for zonal qualifiers.
“Our women’s and youth tournaments would not have been possible without the insight of Mr Infantino, who saw the merit in supporting them. He put FIFA’s money where his mouth his (through the FIFA Forward grant). He promised to provide his support and he has,” Chiyangwa added.