7th November, 2014
There is a big buzz in the South-South region of Nigeria as three Heads of Governments from across the West African sub-continent gather for the elaborate commissioning of one of the most magnificent sporting infrastructure in Africa.
President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR will lead Ghanaian leader, Dr. John Dramani Mahama and Ivorian Head of State, Dr Alassane Ouattara to Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Uyo on Friday, with Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, as Chief Host.
Akpabio is showcasing the majestic facility, which has already been approved by the Confederation of African Football for the crucial 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and South Africa on 19 November, as one of the key points of his uncommon transformation of the oil–rich state.
Apart from Presidents Jonathan, Mahama and Ouattara, a number of Governors from across Nigeria are expected, while President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick and some Executive Committee members and management staff arrived in Uyo on Thursday evening.
The 30,000–capacity venue, with a bullet–proof State Box that has 70 seats, has been described by the Vice President of Ghana Football Association, Mr. Fred Crentsil (who was sent by CAF to inspect the venue) as being “among the best you can find anywhere in the world.”
The high point of the commissioning is an international friendly match between the Home –based senior national team of Nigeria, Super Eagles B, and the U-23 national team of Ghana, nicknamed Black Meteors.
Friday’s match, and the atmosphere, will provide the perfect tenor for the 2015 Cup of Nations qualifier between the Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana in less than a fortnight.
Facilities have been stretched thin in the dainty city of Uyo but the party must go on, and on Thursday, FIFA and CAF Match Commissioner, Etubom Paul Bassey, who is coordinating various aspects of the programme, assured that all arrangements have been concluded for a hitch–free event.