By Ben Nwachukwu, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has given the world football governing body (FIFA) the assurance that the Federal Government of Nigeria is 100 per cent in support of the bid by the country to host the 10th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals in 2020,
Nigeria’s number two citizen spoke when a team from world football governing body, FIFA and accompanying officials of the 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. 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 interest in hosting is beyond commercial; football is a measure of unity and well –being of our people as diverse as we are.”
Osinbajo 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) is an ardent football lover and is excited about Nigeria hosting the tournament and is in full support of the bid, while thanking the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the NFF leadership and the Bid Committee for putting forward a strong bid for Nigeria.
Earlier, NFF President Pinnick had informed Vice President Osinbajo about the excellent facilities present in the four proposed host cities – stadia, training sites, hotels, hospitals, road network, security and seamless air travel.
“We had warm welcome from their Excellencies the Governors and people of the four 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 traced the history of the U20 Women’s World Cup, saying Nigeria had been an ever-present, 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 and are known globally, and are also giving back to the next generation of young girls through NGOs and direct investment in the Nigeria economy.He thanked FIFA for considering Nigeria as a strong contender to host.
Leader of the FIFA team, Heyral Kaj Jurgen praised Vice President Osinbajo for the warm welcome the team received in all cities visited. With him 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, and also included Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (NFF 1st Vice President); Mallam Shehu Dikko (NFF 2nd Vice President); Dr. Mohammed Sanusi (NFF General Secretary); Ms Aisha Falode (Chairman 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, which arrived in Nigeria through Lagos on Monday evening, 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.