Following the Federation International Football Association (FIFA) tour of facilities in Edo State as part of Nigeria’s bid to host the 2020 Under-20 female soccer fiesta, hotel owners, transporters and other stakeholders in the hospitality sector have lauded the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s investment in sports development.
A cross-section of operators in the tourism sector said that the endorsement of sporting facilities in the state by the visiting FIFA delegation led by FIFA Consultant, Mainasarawa Illo, showed that Edo State is ready to host the world which will benefit businesses and residents in the state.
Mr Austin Egbe, owner of a hotel in Benin City, said: “With the visit of the FIFA team, players in the hospitality sector are ready to take full advantage as the state prepares to host the 2020 Under-20 female soccer event. The state government has done well by investing in sports development with the renovation of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium into a world-class sports centre.”
He said the state government’s investment in road infrastructure has boosted the profile of operators in the hospitality business, noting, “The state government’s complete turnaround of sporting facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium is heartwarming. Those of us in the hospitality business, especially those of us who are owners of hotels, are also upgrading our facilities to be of a world-class standard to host visitors from around the world for the soccer event.”
Asemota Osaretin, a taxi operator with one of the ride-hailing services in the state, said, “The state government’s unprecedented reconstruction of the roads in Benin City has also shown that Edo State is ready for business and we are happy with the development. Visitors in Edo State could easily access any part of the town because of the roads in the city.”
Recall that FIFA, last week, scored Edo State high in its preparations towards hosting the Under 20 World Cup tournament in the state capital, Benin City, in the event that Nigeria wins the hosting right.
FIFA Consultant, Mainasarawa Illo accompanied by Amaju Pinnick of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) during a tour of facilities said that the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City is one of the venues proposed for use by FIFA.
Illo explained that “there was need to know before time, exactly what’s on ground, see the progress of work, so as to know if adequate preparations have been made to accommodate all the required facilities”
After the inspection, he declared that the facilities on ground were “absolutely breath-taking. It is scenic, picturesque, functional, strong and very promising.”