Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board member, Fan Ndubuoke has described as insensitive and unacceptable the decision of the football body to ignore the entire South East among the hosting cities selected for the proposed 2020 Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup.
It raises doubt on fairness, equity and sincerity of purpose in the entire bidding exercise given the fact that one zone alone out of the six geo-political zones in the country was allotted three cities namely Benin, Uyo and Asaba while the South West was given two slots in Lagos alone.
Agreed that some parts of the country may not be favourably disposed towards female participation in sports the South East is certainly a home for women football. That such a zone was not considered by the NFF and the Bid Committee is unacceptable. That the South East which has been the nation’s feeding and recruitment ground for female footballers in the country since the commencement of the women game was suspiciously omitted in the provisional choice of cities to host the proposed Fifa Women World Cup is unfair and unjustifiable.
“The South East over the years has produced more than 70% of national team players in all tiers of the female national football teams.
“Same goes with clubs in the women domestic league in the country. It therefore becomes very surprising if not shocking to observe that the zone with five states and world class football stadia and solid sporting facilities was exempted in the provision of cities for the global sporting fiesta.
“Moreover, the South Eastern governors have shown immense commitment towards sporting excellence in the country. These are factors that should have been considered while this decision of national importance is being contemplated.
“Recently, Imo State governor, Emeka Ihedioha voted millions of naira for the rehabilitation of the Dan Anyiam Stadium to prove his commitment towards taking sports to the next level in the state in particular and the nation at large.
“Ihedioha made it clear during his campaigns before his election into office that sports will be given a paramount place in his administration to engage our youths gainfully and take them off the streets.
“This will further act as catalysts to curbing crime. With less than 100 days in office, the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives has lived up to his pledges, promises and campaign vows. He is fast turning Imo State into the sporting centre of the entire South East.
“It is expected that these should have been considered by the bid team constituted by the NFF while coming up with its decision or choice of host cities for the proposed sporting event.
“On these premises, one can only call on the NFF and its bid team/committee to do a rethink, beat a fast retreat and make a bold u-turn in this unfair decision to exempt the South East from this ‘developmental project’.
“You don’t deny the hen that lays the golden egg her honour of feeding even if you decided not to give her more food than others,” said the former General Manager of top-flight side, Heartland.
The bid committee has already visited venues in Lagos, Benin City, Asaba.
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