Infantino challenges Africa after poor World Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino Christian Charisius/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has challenged Africa's football leaders to understand why their teams underperformed at the World Cup in Russia earlier this year.

All five of Africa's sides fell at the first hurdle, with Egypt returning homeless and Morocco after failing to win a match.

Infantino, speaking at the ongoing CAF Extraordinary Assembly in Sharm El Sheikh has urged the continent's key footballing figures to identify their teams' failings.

"Looking at the results of African teams in the World Cup in Russia must force the football leaders to find out how the teams can perform better," Infantino told journalists.

"Africa must ask questions on World Cup performance, and how their teams can get better," he added.

Nigeria and Tunisia were eliminated after winning just one of their three group games, while Senegal, who took four points from their opening two fixtures, were eliminated due to yellow cards accrued after being defeated by Colombia in their final match.

However, Infantino did have praise for Africa's embracing of VAR, which was used during Wydad Casablanca's CAF Super Cup victory over Tout Puissant Mazembe in February.

"I am happy that Africa embraced the VAR because it shows that Africa is a modern continent," Infantino added.

"The Video Assistant Referee has helped football because initially, referees had difficult tasks and now this machine is making it easier for them."

Infantino learned this weekend that Africa would support his bid for re-election as FIFA president next year.

CAF officially endorsed Infantino's candidacy, with messages of support from the organisation itself and also on behalf of member associations read out by Morocco.