FIFA boss ‘sad’ Africa is out of 2018 World Cup

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Senegal's Cheikhou Kouyate and team mates react after the match. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyate and team mates react after the match. REUTERS/Max Rossi

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino has told the BBC that he is sad no African team made it to the knock-out stages of the World Cup.

All five African teams – Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia – exited this year’s competition in the group stages.

During an interview with the BBC’s Piers Edwards in Moscow Infantiano said “The World Cup is for the whole world and the African teams were very, very close at the end. And while an Asian team made it (to the knockout stage) an African team did not. I think they will be ready for the next one.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures as he leaves after a meeting of the FIFA Council at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

With regard to criticism over fair play rulings, the FIFA president said there would be a debrief after the tournament to see if anything could be done better.

The Senegalese Football Federation wrote a letter of complaint to FIFA, saying teams should be punished for playing in a way which it says went against the principles of football.

After Japan and Senegal finished level on points, goals scored and goal difference, the Africans became the first team to exit a World Cup because of their disciplinary record.

The Sengalese federation believes that Japan literally refused to play when it learned that Colombia had just scored a goal against Senegal. The tactic helped secure Japan’s place in the knockout stage.

 

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