The Federal Government of Nigeria has assured FIFA, through Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, that it is in full support of the country’s bid to host the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals, Completesports.com reports.
Osinbajo declared in Abuja on Thursday when a team from the world football governing body, FIFA, the officials of Nigeria Football Federation and members of the Bid Committee paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa.
“The Government of Nigeria guarantees to back the bid 100 per cent,” Osinbajo assured.
“We are actually excited with the prospect of hosting the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in 2020.
“For us, football is a unifying force. Government’s interest in hosting is beyond commercial; football is a measure of unity and wellbeing of our people as diverse as we are.”
The Nigerian No.2 citizen promised that the government will mobilize every apparatus to ensure a successful hosting, in the areas of infrastructure, security and other logistics.
The Vice President also stated that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), as an ardent football lover is excited about Nigeria hosting the tournament, and is in full support of the bid. He also commended the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, and his board, as well as the Bid Committee, for putting forward a strong bid for Nigeria.
Amaju pinnick equally thanked the governors of the states that the FIFA delegation visited for their full support.
“We had warm welcome from their Excellencies, the Governors and people of the four States; Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta and Lagos states, who had worked tirelessly to put in place the appropriate structure to host a successful and memorable tournament.
“Hosting the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in 2020 will leave a lot of legacies beyond the physical; it will impact on humanity,” Pinnick said.
Pinnick traced the history of the U-20 Women’s World Cup, saying Nigeria had been ever-present in the previous tournaments and highlighted how the competition served as discovery forum for players like Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie and Rasheedat Ajibade who are now the leading lights of African women football, known globally, and are also giving back to the next generation of young girls through NGOs and direct investment in the Nigeria economy.
Leader of the FIFA team, Heyral Kaj Jurgen praised Vice President Osinbajo for the warm welcome the team received in all cities visited.
With Heyral on the FIFA delegation were Christopher Exley (Security) and Kliment Taseski (Tournaments and Events).
The delegation to Vice President Osinbajo was led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Olusade Adesola, accompanied by the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engineer Habu Ahmed Gumel, as well as Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (NFF 1st Vice President); Mallam Shehu Dikko (NFF 2nd Vice President); Dr. Mohammed Sanusi (NFF General Secretary); Ms Aisha Falode (Chairperson of the Nigeria Women Football League); Alh. Mainasara Illo (Bid Coordinator); CP Umar Baba (NFF/Bid Committee Security Adviser); Dr. Paul Onyeudo (Medical); Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme (NFF Deputy General Secretary) and; Chikelue Iloenyosi (SA to NFF President).
The FIFA team inspected facilities in Lagos, Benin City, Asaba and Uyo, meeting with Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Godwin Obaseki, Ifeanyi Okowa and Udom Emmanuel, who variously assured them of the keen interest and desire of their various governments and peoples to meet FIFA requirements for hosting the competition.
By Sab Osuji