Newly-elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino visited war-torn South Sudan on Wednesday, the world’s newest nation, on one of his first official trips since taking up the post.
Infantino, who formally inaugurated the office of the South Sudanese Football Association in the capital Juba, is later due to watch an African Cup of Nations qualifier between South Sudan and Benin.
Officials dressed Infantino in traditional robes and made him dance. Officials also produced a large cake to celebrate Infantino’s 46th birthday on Wednesday.
After gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan erupted into civil war in December 2013, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that have split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.
Both the government and rebel sides have been accused of perpetrating ethnic massacres, recruiting and killing children and carrying out widespread rape, torture and forced displacement of populations to “cleanse” areas of their opponents.
Infantino’s first official international visit was earlier this month to the United Kingdom.
Later this month he is due to visit the scandal-hit South American football confederation CONMEBOL on March 28-29 in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. – Agence France-Presse