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Morocco’s ambition is to win Aisha Buhari Cup

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Akaraonye hails the first lady for ‘game-changer’

Morocco is not one of the top women football nations in Africa. The country has not won any laurel of note in the women game, but one of their stars, Hanane Ait El Haj, believes the narrative will change at the forthcoming Aisha Buhari International Women Championship.

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The defender, who is poised to confront Nigeria and Mali in Group A of the six-nation championship, which holds in Lagos next month, see their current crop of players as equipped to challenge the current women football order in the continent.

According to the former Zaragoza star, Lagos 2021 presents Morocco as “a good opportunity to know first, our level, what we should improve on and also the level of the teams that we may likely play at the Women Africa Cup of Nations.”

El Haj, who recently helped ASFAR win the UNIAF Women’s Champions League title, added: “We play against Mali a lot of times, so we know each other. But it will be our first game with Nigeria and we know they are a big and strong team that always fight for titles.”

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On their ultimate goal at the competition, the 26-year-old said: “Our ambition is to win this tournament and improve ourselves.  

“It will be a very exciting competition with big teams competing in it, thanks to everyone who organised this tournament.”

MEANWHILE, former Nigerian international, Regina Akaraonye, believes the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament is a game-changer that will guarantee a future assured for the girl-child in Africa.

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Akaraonye, who is an assistant coach of NWFL Premiership side, Rivers Angels, said the six-nation football showpiece with its theme ‘Playing For Good’ under the Aisha Buhari Foundation’s Future Assured Programme, is a laudable project with the grain to further empower the girl-child, take her away from the streets and permanently shield her from anti-social vices.

“It’s a big honour being done to women and the girl-child in Nigeria and Africa by the First Lady of Nigeria, Dr. (Mrs.) Aisha Buhari with the upcoming invitational tournament in Lagos, Nigeria.”

“Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s Future Assured Programme is all about the women and girl-child and this Aisha Buhari Cup is going to be a game-changer for the women and girl-child in Africa. I have to say this: the introduction of women football into our lives and Nigeria has helped a lot to take away the girl-child from the streets and other vices. Today we have educated ones among them still playing football and most of the women footballers are bread-winners of their respective families.

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“I appeal to parents to see what the First Lady is doing in her foundation and the Aisha Buhari Cup as a wake-up call on them to allow their children especially the girl-child to participate in football and other sports. It will not stop them from studying or realising their conjugal obligations and other potentials,” said Akaraonye.

The Future Assured Programme (FAP) focuses on women and girl-child as well as vulnerable people like widows, orphans and the disabled across the country. The programme involves training for entrepreneurial skills and provision of starter packs, conditional and unconditional cash transfers and provision of business tools.

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