9th August, 2023
Lagos State Government has assured the Confederation of African Football (CAF) of her preparedness to provide good sporting facilities and the enabling environment to boost the interest of Nigeria in co-hosting the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations with the Republic of Benin.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat gave the assurance today while receiving on behalf of the State Governor, the Confederation of Africa Football Inspection Team who were on a courtesy visit at the Round House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Hamzat noted that the state has all it takes as one of the centers in successfully hosting a great sport event like the African Cup of Nations as “it has the people, the facilities, and the commitment of the government.”
He added that Lagos State had in the past hosted the under-17 and under-20 World Cup football competitions, which gave her an insight into the protocols of hosting.
He continued, “We have the template, we know what is expected of us, then it is just for us to go and repeat it and make sure that it is good. It is interesting that it is a joint bid.”
He, therefore, assures the delegation of good hospitality in the state which will be the combination of both public and private sectors.
Speaking further, the Deputy Governor said the state is aiming beyond the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, as it also plans to build the interest of the young generations in football, saying that “we want to make sure that around the world when for example there are teams, we want four to five Nigerians to be in all the team, that is the goal.”
He added that the state is not only renovating the Teslim Balogun Stadium to ensure that it is elevated beyond the standard, but for the purpose of the competition in the year 2027 and beyond.
“It is also building new ones in different communities within the state to accommodate and encourage youths, both Male and female in terms of playing football and other sports,” he said.
According to Hamzat, “We are actually doing nine stadiums there in Agege, Ifako-Ijaye, Ikorodu, Epe, among others, the essence for us is to also start a lot of community football for communities to play.”
He assured that before the end of the year, the Teslim Balogun Stadium would be ready.
Speaking earlier, the Leader of Nigeria’s Bid Delegation for the Africa Cup of Nations 2027, Mallam Mainasara Illo said the Inspection Team was in Lagos to inspect football facilities that have been proposed by the Nigeria Football Federation for the hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations 2027.
Mallam Illo disclosed that six states in Nigeria and two cities in the Republic of Benin have been proposed to host the competition, adding that “it is hoped that the venues proposed in Nigeria will pass the test.”
He added that it is totally inexcusable if Lagos State, being Africa’s largest economy, “the nation’s most populous state and a state in which football is most passionately followed does not make it.”