FIFA President Gianni Infantino has visited Mauritania, Senegal, Central African Republic and Rwanda ahead of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Presidential election next month.
Infantino’s African tour has taken place despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while his visit comes weeks before the CAF election.
The FIFA President began his tour in Mauritania, where he inaugurated the Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou venue, which was featuring a new artificial turf pitch that received FIFA Forward support.
The stadium is among the venues being used during the ongoing CAF Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
Infantino met with Ahmed Yahya, President of the Mauritanian Football Federation, who is among the candidates cleared to stand in the CAF Presidential election.
The FIFA President is also due to hold a joint media conference with South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe, another CAF Presidential candidate, later in his tour.
Unity was the theme expressed by Infantino in Dakar, where he met with Senegalese President Macky Sall and Senegalese Football Federation President Augustin Senghor.
Senghor is among the candidates standing in the CAF Presidential election.
FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura, who is from Senegal, was also present.
"President Sall is a huge football fan and of course a proud supporter of the Teranga Lions, and I was especially pleased to discuss with him the solid steps taken by the FSF and its President Augustin Senghor to consistently improve football in Senegal, which is a great football country not only in Africa, but at a world level," Gianni Infantino said.
"We also talked about the importance of FIFA and our African football associations working together, in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity for the benefit of the millions of football fans on this great continent.
"Senegal has obviously an important role at the international level and I am delighted to see the progress it has been making at all different levels of our sports, including youth and women’s football."
Senegal’s hosting of the 2026 Summer Youth Olympic Games was reportedly among the topics discussed.
Infantino was presented with the National Order of Recognition on his visit to the Central African Republic, with the honour presented by Prime Minister Firmin Ngrébada.
FIFA said the visit was significant due to a team representing the Central African Republic qualifying for a continental competition for the first time, with the nation represented at the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations.
Infantino then visited Kigali to open a FIFA Regional Development Office in the Rwandan capital.
FIFA began establishing Regional Development Offices in 2017, with Dakar in Senegal, Johannesburg in South Africa and Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo all now home to offices.
FIFA say the offices can better serve its member associations and be closer to their needs.
Infantino is now set to visit South Africa, where he is due to meet with Motsepe.
Yahya, Senghor and Motsepe are three of the candidates approved to stand in the CAF Presidential election.
Honorary President of the Ivorian Football Federation Jacques Anouma is also among the contenders.
Incumbent CAF President Ahmad is a doubt for the election.
Ahmad was banned from all football activity for five years by FIFA in November 2020 after he was found guilty of committing four breaches of the ethics code.
His ban from all football was temporarily suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month.
The CAS has set March 2 as the date for Ahmad's appeal against FIFA sanctions.
The CAF Presidential election is scheduled to be held in Rabat, Morocco on March 12.