Infantino said the people of The Bahamas are “absolutely fantastic”

Following an extremely successful opening night of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, President of the international governing body of football Gianni Infantino gave The Bahamas his stamp of approval.

Thousands of beach soccer fans streamed into the state of the art National Beach Soccer Arena on Thursday night ahead of the feature match between The Bahamas and Switzerland.

“I’m very happy to be here in The Bahamas for the opening of the Beach Soccer World Cup,” Infantino said on Thursday after the roars of the crowd had subsided.

Infantino, who left the country today, said he will depart with good memories of The Bahamas.

“It was great to witness,” he continued. “It was great to be here for that match. You can see the people came with passion. That’s what we want to see in beach soccer, people having fun and enjoying it.

“Here we have the sand, the beach, the good moods, we have the smile on people’s faces. The Bahamian people are absolutely fantastic.”

The Bahamas lost to Switzerland, the sixth ranked team, by one goal. Despite the loss, the arena continued to rally behind its 48th ranked Bahamian team. Fans lined up in the fan zone waiting on their opportunity to meet the Bahamian stars and walked away with signed posters from the players.

Infantino said the passion of the crowd was undeniable.

“It was great,” he said. “It’s great fun, it’s a good atmosphere. We can see what the players presented here on the pitch, it’s absolutely enormous. Technically and physically, it’s great. We can see that not only in football but in beach soccer, the level is going up in countries which may not a big history are coming up as well. They train and they prepare themselves seriously.”

Infantino said the implications of a successful tournament go beyond The Bahamian shores. This is the first time that FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup has ever been hosted in the Caribbean.

“It’s important for the country and the whole region,” Infantino said. “It’s important that beach soccer can be played all over the world.”

Also, playing on opening night was Senegal, who beat Ecuador 9 to 3. Italy crushed Nigeria with 12 goals to six. Mexico lost by one goal to Iran.

The tournament, which ends on May 7, is being broadcast in 185 territories showcasing the beauty, talent and culture of The Bahamas to the world.

Media Contact: Crystal Brown | Krbrown@bahamas.com | (242) 397-2793