THISDAY

Lagos Committed to Hosting U-20 Women’s World Cup, Says Sanwo-Olu

- Gboyega Akinsanmi

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has assured officials of world footballgo­verning body, FIFA that the Centre of Excellence has the will and the capacity to ensure it meets the requiremen­ts for hosting the 10th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals next year.

Speaking when he received an inspection team from FIFA and including officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in his office yesterday, Sanwo-Olu affirmed the state’s readiness to meet the high standards of FIFA in the areas of accommodat­ion, security, logistics and crowd management as host.

“We want to use sport as an engaging tool, as a corrective narrative to show that the positive energy of the youth can indeed take a society to a high level. I want to assure you that we are ready to meet your high standards in the areas of accommodat­ion, security, logistics and crowd management, and also savour that unique experience of hosting a FIFA tournament.

The governor described the estimated 22 million people of Lagos as resourcefu­l, dynamic and full of positive energy.

He noted that the strength of the state lay in its diversity and a youth population driven by the will to succeed.

“I want you to see Lagos State as a partner that understand­s that your next tournament must be better than the last. We will make sure to upgrade facilities wherever this is required,”

He described President of the NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who is a Member of the CAF Executive Committee and Member of Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitio­ns, as “a resourcefu­l, award-winning, never-say-die, self-driven and strong believer in the Nigerian Project.”

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State was excited to be included in the plan to host the first-ever FIFA women’s tournament in Africa, and would do everything to make Nigeria and Africa proud.

Earlier, Pinnick had introduced the FIFA team, led by Rhiannon Martin (Head of FIFA Women’s Football Organizing) and including Christophe­r Exley, Heyral Jurgen, Sara Jane Booth and Kliment Taseski, saying that the world body has tremendous confidence in Nigeria to meet its requiremen­ts to host the championsh­ip.

“Our country is one of only four countries in the world to have played at every edition of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup since it began in 2002. We have played in two Final matches and reached the semi final once. I believe it is time to take it to the next level. It is time we win the competitio­n and it would be even more fulfilling to win it on home ground.”

The FIFA team and accompanyi­ng Nigerian officials had earlier inspected facilities and equipment at the Onikan Stadium, St. Nicholas Hospital, Campos Square, Eagle Club, Teslim Balogun Stadium and the National Stadium Legacy Pitch before arriving at the Governor’s office.

After the visit, a number of the Nigerian officials led by President Pinnick as well as three members of the FIFA team flew to Benin City to inspect the facilities there, before flying to Asaba to spend the night ahead of inspection of facilities in the Delta State capital on Wednesday, from where they will fly to Uyo.

 ??  ?? L-R: Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo; Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick; Head, FIFA Inspection Team, Rhiannon Martin; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola during a courtesy visit by FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup inspection team to the Governor at Lagos House, Alausa…Ikeja
L-R: Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo; Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick; Head, FIFA Inspection Team, Rhiannon Martin; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola during a courtesy visit by FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup inspection team to the Governor at Lagos House, Alausa…Ikeja

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