Obaseki reiterates Edo’s readiness to host U-20 Women’s World Cup, National Sports Festival
FIFA okays Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has reiterated his government’s preparedness to host the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup soccer and the National Sports Festival next year.He gave the assurance during a meeting with a delegation of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and FIFA inspection team in Benin City yesterday.
Obaseki said the revamp of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, which is near completion, would make the arena ready for various local and international sporting events.
“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,” he told the FIFA inspectors.
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. Earlier, the NFF President Amaju Pinnick, said the inspection team has also visited the Lagos State government, and was in Edo State to assess its sporting facilities ahead of the 2020 Women’s Under-20 World Cup competition. He commended the governor for reviving sports in the state, especially the repositioning of Bendel Insurance Football Club, adding, “You have done a lot for football development in the country and the Nigerian football community wants me to thank you for the role you played in ensuring our girls qualified for the last U-20 World Cup.”
Pinnick disclosed that Edo would also host a match between the Super Eagles and Benin Republic on November 11 as well as the NFF Annual General Congress.
Meanwhile, the FIFA team has expressed satisfaction with the state of facilities at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba. Speaking after the team had inspected facilities at the stadium, Head of FIFA inspection team, Mr. Kaj Heyral said, “We are pleased with the facilities here; I must say that we are impressed with what is in place here.“When we get back, we will sit and discuss based on our observations and see how best the facilities will be used for a successful tournament.
“FIFA is committed to ensuring adequate preparations are put in place and that is our major concern.”Also speaking, Nigeria’s Bid Coordinator, Mr. Mainasara Illoh said the stadium was one of the stadia to host the tournament if FIFA approved Nigeria’s bid. Illoh lauded the Delta Government for the state-of-art facilities at the stadium, and expressed hope that FIFA would award Nigeria the hosting right.
“Today, we are here with the FIFA team to see the facilities as part of our readiness to host the 2020 U-20 female world cup.“What we are doing now is part of the bidding process but FIFA has the final decision,” Iloh said.