By Albert Akota
The Aisha Buhari Cup, an international women’s football invitational tournament whose inaugural edition holds in Lagos, Nigeria next month has the potentials to boost the development of women’s football and unite the nation.
This is the belief of Sunday Dare, the Youth and Sports Development Minister.
Declaring this on Tuesday in his office in Abuja when he received in audience the Local Organising Committee(LOC) of the competition, the Minister commended them for the wonderful work done so far and the efforts made to host a successful competition inspite of the challenges.
“I knew you started all these with little or no funds,” Dare remarked.
“But seeing how much progress you have made and positive strides you have taken show to me that you are miracle workers. I have read a lot about what you have done even when I was at the Olympics.”
The Minister further assured that all necessary support will be given to make the competition a huge success because it will unite the nation and encourage more interest and participation in the women’s game.
“When the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) president Amaju Pinnick told me of the plans to stage the competition, the first question I asked him was if he had enough time to see it through.
He said yes and I promised to lend him my support hundred percent. I’m glad that the event is now a reality. The competition will not only excite and inspire our people, it will also unite us.
“Whatever will unite people has the full support of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, so my support is total especially since it has to do with women’s football.
FIFA is unapologetic about the development of the women’s game. The competition is going to attract more women to take to football.”
The Sports Minister thereafter declared a financial support of Fifty Million Naira(N50m) for the competition with a promise to getting other well meaning Nigerians to do same.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee(LOC), Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi thanked the Minister for his support in getting the Presidential Task Force(PTF) on Covid 19 to grant permission to have the event staged in Nigeria.
He said the importance of the competition is underscored by the interest shown in it by six of the top women football playing nations in Africa namely Ghana, Morocco, Cameroon, South Africa, Mali, Cote’d Ivoire and hosts Nigeria.
He appealed to the Minister to assist in fast tracking entry visas for the participating teams.
The Aisha Buhari invitational tournament will take pace in Lagos from September 13th – 21st at the Agege Stadium and the refurbished Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.