- U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The FIFA inspection team, which arrived in Nigeria on Monday on an inspection tour of facilities for the hosting of the 2020 edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, has expressed satisfaction at the state of facilities in Benin City and Asaba.
Nigeria is bidding to host the tournament alongside India and South Korea. India however is out of contention as they were handed hosting rights to the 2020 edition of the U-17 Women’s World Cup. Nigeria last hosted a FIFA tournament ten years ago when the country hosted the cadet U-17 World Cup for boys.
The FIFA inspection team, which included Christopher Exley, Sara Jane Booth, Kliment Taseki, Rhiannon Ceirwen Martin and Heyral Kaj Jurgen, were conducted round facilities in Benin City and Asaba on Tuesday.
They were joined on the tour by Nigeria’s bid Coordinator, Malam Mainasara Ilo and officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its President, Amaju Pinnick, Aisha Falode, head of the Women’s Football League, and Ruth David, head of Women’s football at the federation.
The FIFA and NFF officials were conducted round facilities, which included the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, practice pitches at Western Boys High School, one of the mini stadia the government is building for the event, and the Protea Hotel by Edo State Sports Commission Chairman, Godwin Dudu-Orumen and other officials of the Commission.
The FIFA team later paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who assured them that the state was not only willing to host the matches of the tournament but was more than capable of doing so.
Obaseki who said the revamp of the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium which is near completion would host various local and international sporting events, also noted that the state is building 20 mini-stadia across the state to boost sporting activities
According to him, “We take sports seriously in the state because 72 per cent of our population are under 30 years of age. We are building 20 mini-stadia across the state and four of the stadia can be used as practice fields”.
The governor added that the fibre optic cables being laid across Benin City metropolis would provide the infrastructure to broadcast matches, adding that the Benin Specialist Hospital would provide the needed medical services.
In Asaba, Delta Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, assured FIFA officials that they do not need to worry about venue for the tournament as the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba will serve as an excellent venue.
Okowa expressed readiness of the state government to provide any further improvement in the facility as might be necessary to make the stadium the best venue for the competition.
He observed that several international sport events like the 21st Africa Senior Athletics Competition as well as the Super Eagles matches with Seychelles and Egypt, were among major events that had been hosted at the Keshi Stadium without hitches, stressing that hosting the Under-20 Women’s World Cup would be a great event that would be welcomed by football enthusiasts in Delta State.
Okowa said, “I am glad that you are here to inspect sporting facilities in our state. As a government, we have continued to do the best we can to develop sporting facilities and we have done very well in that area.”