FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura has been recognised for her contribution to sport as she was awarded the Lifetime Leadership Award at the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) on Friday, 10 November 2023.
Samoura became the first woman to hold the high ranking position at the global football body when she first took up the job in 2016.
Her appointment seven years ago was quite a historic one, taking up the baton as the first women, the first black woman, the first Muslim and the first non-European in this role.
It was announced in June this year that she would be leaving the post at the end of 2023.
“What an honour to receive the inaugural AWIEF Lifetime Leadership Award. This award is not just for me, but all the people who have dedicated their lives to our game and helped us transform women’s football over the last few years. They have created a beautiful legacy – a FIFA that is focused on football and is respected by international organisations, and a sport that captures the hearts and minds of boys and girls around the world and brings them joy and happiness,” said Samoura.
“We have given more girls and women the chance to play football, even in countries where it would have been considered almost impossible only a few years ago.”The first woman FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura
One of the things Samoura did achieve during her time at FIFA, was creating a new women’s football division, which is lead by New Zealander Sarai Bareman.
Samoura in her acceptance urged women to “invest in African football” as it offers a huge untapped potential.
“Then of course, you women need to invest in football I will be retiring peacefully in my beautiful country Senegal if at least I got a phone call, by the next Women’s World Cup from many of you saying: ‘Madam, because we saw you in Rwanda and decided to invest in football, today we are club owners.’ So, the ball is in your court, make it happen because you have many talents,”, she said.
“Remember one thing: football is the future for Africa, football is the future for building peace across the world. Football is a universal message, football is something that transmits love, that gives mind, that also transcends borders and brings people together.”
Photo caption: FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura has been recognised for her contribution to sport as she was awarded the Lifetime Leadership award at the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) on Friday, 10 November 2023. Photo: Fatma Samoura on X