By Harry Awurumibe
Determined to convince the top echelon of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) who is expected in the country this month for the inspection of facilities to be used for the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final, football authorities will tomorrow inspect Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Benin City, Edo state.
A reliable source conversant with the operations at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Glass House, Abuja today confirmed that an internal inspection team will visit the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin City to ensure that things are in shape before the FIFA Inspection Team arrives later this month.
The stadium which is undergoing refurbishment for over one year now was also inspected recently by just a few persons including Mr. Mainasara Ilo who was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup final.
It was also gathered today that aside the inspection of Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Benin City in the South South geopolitical zone of the country the inspectors have since moved to the Northern Nigeria with the preliminary inspection of Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna at the weekend. Stadia in the South East and South West geopolitical zones will follow next.
With these efforts by the Nigerian football authorities so far, the coast is becoming clearer for Nigeria to host another international tournament as feelers from the Zurich headquarters of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) still suggests that Nigeria stands a good chance to be awarded hosting rights of the 2020 FIFA U-20 World Women’s Cup final.
The inspection slated for next month and to be led by FIFA top officials will focus on Nigeria’s sporting infrastructure, operations, security and medical among other things.
It was also gathered that the world football governing is planning to spend as much as $4m on the event which effectively takes off a huge chunk of the financial burden from Nigeria, if finally given the hosting rights.
It will be recalled that NFF President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick remains an important member of the Organising Committee for FIFA competitions.
Interestingly, Nigeria has made it to the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on two occasions in 2010 and 2014 but was defeated by Germany both times.
The last FIFA event held in Nigeria was the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was the thirteenth edition of the tournament.
It was staged from October 24 to 15 November 2009 across some major cities in the country.
The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is an international association football tournament, organised by FIFA for national teams of women under the age of 20.
The tournament is held in even-numbered years.
It was first conducted in 2002 as the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship with an upper age limit of 19. In 2006, the age limit was raised to the current 20.
No African country has ever hosted the event and Nigeria is looking set to be the first, having been said to be favoured now by FIFA to stage the 10th edition of the biennial football event.