Super Eagles Legend Yakubu praises FIFA’s global grassroots commitment

13 Oct 2021
  • Living Football catches up with Yakubu to hear about his path to the top

  • FIFA’s Chief Member Association Officer, Kenny Jean-Marie, talks about his team’s work during COVID-19

  • We hear how the FIFA Forward Programme allowed teams in Andorra to thrive during the pandemic

In the latest episode of Living Football, FIFA’s Football Magazine Show, legendary striker Yakubu Ayegbeni recalls his journey from the backstreets of Benin, where he played football barefoot as a child, before a move to Israel and the Premier League beckoned. He also featured in four CAF African Cup of Nations tournaments. But it was 2010 and the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa that he recalled most fondly.

Reminiscing about being part of that historic moment for African football, he said: “I worked so hard to be at the South Africa World Cup. It’s a dream as a player. You want to play in those big tournaments. For me to be there is an honour I will never forget.” ‘The Yak’ also he recalled a trip to Tonga, where he saw first-hand the positive impact the FIFA Forward Programme was having. “It’s unbelievable when you see these kids," he said. "I’m really happy with what FIFA is doing in football, not only in Tonga but in Africa and all over the world as well. You have to give these kids the platform to follow their dreams.”

Also featured in the latest episode of Living Football is FIFA’s new Chief Member Associations Officer, Kenny Jean-Marie, providing updates on how the organisation is ensuring funds are distributed fairly and effectively across the entire global football pyramid. He also discussed FIFA’s COVID-19 Relief Plan – a USD 1.5 billion support programme to help support member associations during the pandemic. “It was an intense and difficult period for the whole football family,” he explained. “With the COVID-19 Relief Plan that we set up last year we’ve been able to save most of our stakeholders. "Now I’m happy to see that we are continuing to implement this programme. It was not easy, but today I can say it has been helpful. For not only the member associations but also the confederations.”

Finally in this episode, FIFA TV also travelled to Andorra to find out how the FIFA COVID-19 Relief plan has helped the Andorran Football Federation – like many others – maintain its women's and futsal teams throughout the pandemic, and learn how the next generation of female footballers are already benefitting from the support.