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Africa wants 10 World Cup places – official

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino (2nd R) laughs next to President of the South African Football Association Danny Jordaan (2nd L) during a visit to the South African Football Association (SAFA) House in Soweto on February 21, 2017 © AFP / John Wessels

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Feb 22 – Africa wants 10 places in the 48-nation World Cup from 2026, FIFA president Gianni Infantino was told in Johannesburg Wednesday.

The Swiss-Italian was attending a two-day meeting of African national football association presidents behind closed doors.

“All associations back an expanded World Cup and Africa hopes for 10 places,” said South African FA president Danny Jordaan, according to a Johannesburg radio station.

The expansion of the World Cup, passed by the FIFA Council last month, comes into effect for the 2026 tournament.

The Infantino proposal will feature 16 first-round groups from which winners and runners-up qualify for the knockout phase.

Africa has had five places since the 1998 World Cup in France without making a significant impact on the four-yearly tournament.

No African country has gone further than the quarter-finals and the 2014 World Cup was the first in which two teams from the continent reached the knockout stage.

Infantino used the summit to explain his expanded World Cup from the current 32, and to spell out new development projects.

“The gathering was a worthwhile exercise,” said one national football association president, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

“It was good talking directly to the FIFA president about matters that concern us in running our organisations.”

Infantino, who did not speak to the media while in Johannesburg, flies to Harare Thursday for the birthday party of Zimbabwe FA president Philip Chiyangwa.

On Friday, the FIFA president visits Uganda and is expected to meet President Yoweri Museveni.

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