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Hosting 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will come with great benefits, says Mabo

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Ismaila Mabo

Former Super Falcons coach, Ismaila Mabo, don’t see anything wrong in Nigeria’s bid to host the 2020 edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.Promoters of the bid have earmarked five venues in Lagos, Benin City, Asaba and Uyo for the FIFA age-grade tournament. A team from FIFA visited the venues two weeks ago to inspect the facilities and get government’s assurances before the host nation is announced by the world governing football body.

Having hosted the FIFA male U-20 World Cup and its U-17 equivalent in 1999 and 2009 respectively, the present bid represents the third time Nigeria is scavenging into the hosting of age-grade competition at the global level.Mabo, who led the Super Falcons to the quarterfinal at USA ’99 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the best record ever for Nigeria, told The Guardian yesterday that hosting the championship in 2020 would come with numerous benefits.

“It is a good development for Nigerian football, and I support the bid 100 percent,” Mabo said. “Hosting the competition will not only bring attention of the entire world to Nigeria, but also help to upgrade our facilities. I want all meaning Nigerians to see the bid from a positive angle.”

Since the introduction of FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the Nigerian U-20 female team, Falconets, have participated in all the tournaments, emerging runners-up on two occasions, 2010 and 2014.The Falconets remain one of the best African teams, winning the continent’s U-20 Cup of Nations in 2002 and 2004. They qualified for the World Cup in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018.

President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amamu Pinnick stated recently that some of the reasons Nigeria wants to host the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup was to fast-track the emergence of new football stars in the country. He said: “The benefits of hosting world-class events and tournaments are enormous. From the provision of new facilities, to the upgrading of existing ones, both sporting and otherwise, the competition will be massive boost in the local economy. These events also act as windows to the world.”

Pinnck, who wrote on his twitter handle further stated: “Events like these show the other side of Nigeria to a lot of foreigners who do not see in their news cycles. So, it is usually a chance to tell our stories to the world, as opposed to the world telling our stories to us.

“The most important aspect of these competitions, in my point of view, is the emergence of new football stars. Tournaments like these are fast-track stages for the new Mercy Akide-Udoh, Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala to announce themselves to the world,” Pinnick stated.

The former Delta State Sports Commission Chairman also assured of transparency and accountability in the whole process and organisation of the tournament should Nigeria get FIFA’s nod to host in 2020, adding that a top brass of anti-corruption agencies like EFCC, ICPC and Police would head the Compliance Committee of Nigeria 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.He continues: “From the start of this process to the end of it, we will be as transparent as possibly. Hopefully, with the support of all Nigerians, we will deliver a worthy tournament for our women.”

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