Nigeria: Lagos Ready To Host The World, Gov Sanwo-Olu Tells Visiting FIFA Team
London, August 7, 2019 (AltAfrica) – Like it did during the Nigeria 1999 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the city of Lagos is ready to host the world once again.
These were the words of Lagos state governor, Sanwo-Olu Babajide to the inspection team from the world football governing body, FIFA when they paid him a courtesy visit as part of their inspection of facilities in Lagos, Nigeria for the hosting of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup which Nigeria is bidding to host next year.
The Governor assures FiFA team that Lagos is not new to hosting international tournament of magnitude like the World Cup as it did in 1999 when the U-17 youth players were in Nigeria for their World Cup, and several other global competitions.
The state is currently playing host to an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) event tagged ITTF Nigeria Open Challenge Plus at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
The Governor guaranteed that the state will ensure improvement in the condition of all sporting facilities already inspected by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) committee to give participants a comfort and make their experience rewarding.
The FIFA officials were led by the president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick.
The Governor said he was elated by the choice of Lagos as a potential host city of the sporting fiesta
He said: “Lagos is a whole lot of energy, with a lot of very resourceful, hospitable and dynamic people, who understand and appreciate the issues around hospitality. It is a State with population that has a lot of diversity. We are very excited that FIFA is considering hosting one of its very important tournaments, U-20 Women World Cup, in Nigeria. By implication, Lagos is one of the host cities of this fiesta.
“We understand there will be a few concerns. As a government, we will give our assurances on all things required to make the event successful. We will ensure adequate security for all participants. We will also be supporting NFF and FIFA to ensure seamless transportation, accommodation and crowd management. We will do whatever would create an enduring experience for the visitors coming to the FIFA events.”
Sanwo-Olu told the visiting FIFA officials that harnessing sporting potential of the youth was a key component of his administration’s development agenda, stressing that his government planned to use sport as an engaging tool to create opportunity for young people.
The Governor who received the FIFA team in company of his Deputy, Mr. Femi Hamzat and other government officials said: “For us, we will use sport as an engaging tool to create opportunity for young people to see a growth in their career path and we have started to push this agenda through our sport commission. We are using sport as a corrective narrative; an enabler that will make our youths see brighter tomorrow.”
Pinnick described Lagos government as “giant promoter” of sports, while also acknowledging Governor Sanwo-Olu’s role in the mileage achieved by the Super Eagles in the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Hosting the U-20 Women World Cup in Lagos, the NFF boss said, would be the required boost to spur the Falconets to lifting the trophy next year.
He said if given the hosting right, Nigeria will become the first African country to host the women world cup, pointing out that the FIFA team members were satisfied with the condition of the facilities inspected in Lagos.
Pinnick said: “Hosting the competition is very good for Nigeria. Members of our women football teams have displayed level of discipline, maturity and patriotism. We believe we should accord them respect they deserve by ensuring that the tournament is successfully hosted.
“For the first time in Africa, we are hosting an U-20 Women World Cup. But, Lagos State is not new to hosting tournament. During inspection, the FIFA team was able to understand Lagos is ever ready for this kind of event. We are happy the forthcoming tournament will be taking place in Lagos.”
The Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Adedayo Tandoh was also among the top officials of Lagos State who joined Governor Sanwo-Olu to receive the visitors from FIFA.