FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, who was in Nigeria on a 2-day visit, has said he is trying to lobby for Africa to get two more World Cup slots.
Infantino is proposing for the tournament to be expanded to 40 teams, eight more than the present 32 finalists. Africa currently has five slots at the tournament.
At a media briefing, during his two-day working visit to Nigeria on Monday, Infantino said;
“I believe for the 2026 World Cup, we should have 40 teams and out of the additional eight teams we should have at least two more African teams. We are discussing this and I hope I will be able to convince everyone as well (with this proposal).
This is what I declared during my campaign and as you know I’m not a dictator but a democratically elected FIFA president, so I have to speak to everyone and listen to everyone as well.”
An expanded World Cup was one of the key points in the election manifesto of Infantino, who was voted in as the president of world soccer’s governing body in February.
The next two World Cup tournaments have a field of 32 teams with Africa having had five places since the last increase in 1998, except for 2010 when, with the tournament hosted in South Africa, there were six African nations at the finals.
They were accompanied by the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick.
After meeting with the President, Infantino and Samoura moved to the National Stadium Abuja to kick off an exhibition match between Abuja U-13 and Enugu U-13.