The Akwa Ibom State Government has solicited for the right to host both the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup if Nigeria got the right to host it.
According to a report on Nigerian tabloid The Guardian, Governor Udom Emmanuel made the appeal on Wednesday when the FIFA inspection team paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Uyo.
The governor assured the delegation, led by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick that the state was ready to host the 2020 tournament, noting that the choice of Uyo as one of the host stadia was a mark of appreciation for the state’s contributions towards the development of football in Nigeria.
He informed the visitors that Uyo has a functional airport and a good network of roads for easy air and road transportation, in addition to being the only state in the country owning a commercially viable airline.
The governor also assured the inspectors that the state has good secondary, tertiary and quaternary medical facilities that could cater to all the teams and visitors expected in the state during the tournament, adding that Uyo would be the first city to have a safe city security system in Nigeria. He said it is expected to be operational this year.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has assured the inspectors that it is 100 percent in support of Nigeria’s bid to host the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals in 2020.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the explanation yesterday when the FIFA team and accompanying NFF officials paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa.
“The Government of Nigeria guarantees to back the bid 100 percent. We are actually excited about 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 would mobilize every apparatus to ensure a successful hosting, in the areas of infrastructure, security and other logistics.
The vice president also stated that President Muhammadu Buhari is an ardent football lover and is excited about Nigeria hosting the tournament while thanking the NFF’s 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.
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).