Chiyangwa to invite Fifa president to Zimbabwe

ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa is set to launch an audacious bid to invite FIFA president Gianni Infantino to Zimbabwe when he meets the world soccer governing body’s supremo in Nigeria next weekend.

Chiyangwa has been granted a special invitation by the Nigerian Football Federation to be in the West African country on the occasion of the new FIFA boss’ maiden trip to Abuja.

The ZIFA boss will also be among delegates who will visit Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at his Presidential Villa on July 25.

Chiyangwa is expected to be in Abuja, Nigeria on July 23 ahead of Infantino’s two-day visit to the vast West African country that is home to former African champions the Super Eagles.

The Harare property mogul, who recently met and cemented ties with Nigerian Minister of Youth and Sport Solomon Dalong at the Euro 2016 championship in France, is one of a few selected African soccer leaders who will be in Abuja for Infantino’s visit.

Infantino will be accompanied by FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura on his working visit.

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In his letter of invitation to Chiyangwa, NFF president Amaju Melvin said the ZIFA president would also be expected to join the other delegates at a welcome dinner for Infantino and his entourage.

“I have the honour and the privilege to present to you compliments of sporting regards of the members of the executive committee and management of the Nigerian Football Federation.

“This is to respectfully invite you to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to join the Nigerian Football Federation in welcoming to our great country, the president of football’s world governing body, FIFA, Mr. Gianni Infantino and the secretary-general Ms Fatma Samoura and their entourage to Nigeria on a two-day working visit.

“The said visit has been confirmed for Sunday 24th July 2016 and Monday 25th July 2016. You are expected to arrive in Nigeria through the Namdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja on Saturday 23rd July 2016.

“My dear president you are expected to attend a welcome dinner for Mr. Infantino and Ms Samoura and heir entourage on the evening of Sunday 24th July. You will also be part of the entourage to meet with His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa on Monday 25 July.

“We thank you for your understanding and support and please Sir kindly accept the assurances of my highest sporting esteem,” Melvin said.

Chiyangwa who has since confirmed his attendance said he would also take advantage of his presence in Nigeria to follow up his invitation to Infantino to also tour Zimbabwe.

The ZIFA boss said he had soon after Infantino’s election to the FIFA presidency, invited him to visit Zimbabwe.

“I had earlier invited the FIFA president to come to Zimbabwe and I will once again use my presence in Nigeria to follow up on that invitation too.

“I am also privileged to be among the football leaders that will meet state President Buhari and I will make the most of such an occasion,” Chiyangwa said.

With his predecessor Sepp Blatter having made an historic visit to Zimbabwe in July 2011, Chiyangwa is hoping to leverage on his trip to Abuja to ensure Infantino also makes a high profile tour of this country.

Crucially for Chiyangwa, the visit to Nigeria will not only help him cement relations between ZIFA and the NFF but re-ignite his bid to have both the FIFA president and secretary-general to come to Harare.

Source – herald