Gianni Infantino and the President of the Republic of the Seychelles, His Excellency Wavel Ramkalawan, talked about how to get more young people playing football and boost the sport further in the country during the FIFA President’s visit to the Indian Ocean nation.
The FIFA President, who was welcomed by Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) President Elvis Chetty and members of the SFF executive committee, also opened a new football turf pitch built with support of the FIFA Forward programme. In addition, Mr Infantino and the SFF discussed the FIFA Beach World Cup 2025™ which will take place in the Seychelles, the first-ever FIFA tournament to be staged in the country.
Mr Infantino said that the work being done in the Seychelles was a “symbol” of what FIFA is all about. “Seychelles has around 100,000 inhabitants and FIFA is there for everyone: for the biggest countries, for the smallest countries, and football is the same everywhere. It’s lived and loved with the same passion,” he said.
Mr Infantino said that during his meeting with President Ramkalawan — also attended by the Minister for Youth, Sports and Family, Mrs. Marie Celine Zialor — it was agreed how FIFA could work with the government and the SFF to further develop football in the country.
“We agreed on how to invest in football infrastructure projects, whereby the government gives land and we will build the stadiums,” the FIFA President said. “But, more importantly as well, what can we do for our youth here in Seychelles? We started a Football for Schools project, we invested in a talent development scheme and, of course, we will host the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2025.” The FIFA President visited the SFF headquarters where he met the staff and opened the new pitch which he said showed how important the Forward project was for football development around the world.
“We can see it here; thanks to the FIFA Forward funding, pitches like this can be built. Pitches like this, which serve the whole community: girls, boys, men, women. They can come here, they can practise, clubs are playing here regularly,” he said.
FIFA Deputy Secretary General Football Mattias Grafström, FIFA Director Member Associations Africa Gelson Fernandes, FIFA Senior Football Advisor Youri Djorkaeff and FIFA Legend Houssine Kharja were also part of the FIFA delegation.
Mr Chetty said that FIFA Forward was of “paramount importance” to nations like Seychelles. “FIFA Forward is revolutionary, and the FIFA President is visionary in what he has created for the development and benefit of FIFA members,” he said. “FIFA Forward is a concept that allows smaller nations to develop, to progress at a faster pace.”
A number of football milestones have been passed by the Seychelles recently. In June 2022, the Seychelles entered the FIFA/Coca Cola Women’s World Ranking for the first time, and in March, FIFA launched a Football For Schools project in the country.