President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has declared that Lagos State is “super, super ready” to serve as one of the host cities for the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Championships next year.
Nigeria is currently being considered to host the 16-nation biennial tournament with a five-person delegation from football world governing body FIFA currently in the country on a facilities inspection tour.
The team which arrived Lagos on Monday, have already assessed a proposed match venue at the Onikan Stadium which is currently being rebuilt as well the Saint Nicholas Hospital on Lagos Island. The inspection party also checked out facilities at the Eagles Club, the National Stadium FIFA Legacy Pitch as well as another proposed match venue at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
Speaking after the inspection team completed their examination of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Pinnick who was also accompanied by the 2nd Vice President of the NFF, Seyi Akinwunmi, NFF executive committee member and Chairperson of the Nigeria Women’s Football League (NWFL) as well as the bid coordinator Mainasara Illo said the feeling among members of the inspection team is that Lagos is “one hundred percent ready” for the tournament which is scheduled for September next year.
“Lagos has always been ready,” Pinnick told the assembled media at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
“And what we have seen have been quite impressive from the hotels to hospital, to the stadium and all the facilities therein, so, I believe that Lagos is good to go and the narrative here is that Lagos is one hundred percent ready.
“Lagos is not new to FIFA, this stadium (Teslim Balogun) ten years ago, hosted the semifinals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup; the hotels, nothing is new to Lagos so to me, Lagos is ready,” he declared.
Pinnick who is also a member of FIFA’s Competitions Organising Committee revealed that Lagos is well within FIFA’s recently revamped bidding requirements for age-grade competitions and assured that ongoing work at the Onikan Stadium will be completed in time for the start of the tournament next year although he said some of the facilities which have fallen into a state of disrepair and needed a bit of a facelift to be in good shape for the tournament.
“The tournament is in September next year and that’s about thirteen months away and you can see the level (of work at the Onikan Stadium).
“The turf in the next two, three months based on my experience, is ready to go. Everything here just needs a bit of upgrade because what FIFA has done with junior tournaments, the conditions of hosting (age-grade tournaments) has been reduced; it’s not even what we had ten years ago. So, this one is super, super ready, trust me, I’m in the organising committee for Fifa competitions.”