FIFA president Gianni Infantino says good results are not improvised but are a product of hard work.
And Infantino has drafted Cuban President Raul Castro into a FIFA select and given him jersey number 9.
Speaking with local and international press on Saturday at Havana’s Estadio Polar that has been fitted with a synthetic pitch under the FIFA Forward project, Infantino said Cuba was a very important country that must again qualify for the World Cup.
Cuba last participated at the World Cup in 1938, a tournament won by Italy.
He said FIFA would develop more footballing projects in Cuba to ensure participation of both men and women in the universal sport.
Infantino said with the FIFA Forward Football Development Programme, it was important that the Cuban Association of Football could plan for the future.
“Cuba has two enormous advantages in that it has a big heart and that passion for sport and in particular football,” he said. “Secondly, we are Latinos, in our blood there’s no other sport but football. Cuba has talent. No we have to analyse that talent, train it and keep the dream of qualifying for 2016 now that we have expanded the World Cup format. Cuba participated in the 1938 World Cup that was won by Italy. It has been long…We need Cuba to be at the World Cup. Cuba is a very important country in the world. We want a strong Cuba in football, we want Cuba to be strong in all areas.”
Infantino said the new FIFA under his command was also working hard to develop female football.
He said development did not end at just women being able to kick the round ball but improving all aspects of the sport in integrating women.
“We cannot leave out 51 per cent of the global population outside this sport, outside football,” Infantino said. “It has to be developed.”
He said obviously, results would take some time to show.
“You don’t improvise on results; they are a product of hard work and consistency,” Infantino said.
He said even for Cuba, better results in football would only come about when there was hard work.
Infantino said Cuba was a great country and its people were proud sportsmen.
“So as they say, live the moment. This is the moment for Cuban football to develop,” he said.
Meanwhile, Infantino said Cuban President Raul Castro had passion for sports especially baseball and football.
“We have selected President Raul Castro into the FIFA member team…He’s in FIFA selection team number 9. President Raul Castro has scored several goals in life but now he has to score in football,” he said.
Infantino said the football development project being undertaken in Cuba and other countries were just programmes.
“All deserve our support. The new FIFA has to return to football development,” said Infantino. “We are working seriously and transparently to fulfill what we promised. FIFA’s priority is development of football. So we still have to work hard to demonstrate the new FIFA we promised.”