Aisha Buhari Cup: Sanwo-Olu says Lagos cherishes right to host, promises fabulous tournament


The Government of Lagos State is delighted that the ‘Centre of
Excellence’ was chosen to host the inaugural edition of the Aisha
Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament and will leave no stone
unturned to stage a tournament for the beautiful side of memories,
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu assured on Friday.

Speaking when Members of the Local Organizing Committee of the
tournament led by NFF 1st Vice President/Chairman of Lagos State FA,
Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi paid him a courtesy visit at the State House,
Marina, Sanwo-Olu did nothing to hide his enthuasiasm, and confessed a
deepening love for football and especially the women’s game.

“Football is one of the lead factors that bridge the gap and bring
communities closer together and is enabling a more exciting world. The
women’s game has continued to pull its weight and can be said to be
presently at par with the men’s game in the euphoria that it
generates, and the sheer class, stamina, excellence and expertise that
the players put on display.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, President Pinnick and Members of the LOC
for Aisha Buhari Cup on Friday.

“Lagos State, the State of aquatic splendour, is delighted to be named
as host of this very important invitational tournament. We will aim to
not only host a tournament befitting of the name and positive values
that Her Excellency projects and promotes, but also want to showcase
our State and the country at large through an efficient and effective
organization that will be talked about for a long time.”

While heaping encomiums on President of Nigeria Football Federation
and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick for being “highly
dedicated and passionate about the sport, and a man who always
believes and works hard to make things happen,” Sanwo-Olu recalled the
role Lagos State Government played in the Super Eagles travelling by
waterways to the 2021 AFCON qualifying match against Benin Republic in
Cotonou in March this year, and stated that the exercise has already
produced direct spin-offs. “We have signed contracts to build nine
mini-stadia across the State and these will be of immense value to the
youth of this country who are highly talented but only need
infrastructure to nurture to world standard.”

Insisting that the ongoing renovation work at the Teslim Balogun
Stadium will make the facility the best in the country, Sanwo-Olu said
Lagos will be ready and proud to host First Lady, Dr (Mrs) Aisha
Buhari during the tournament, and assured that the tenacious football
fans in Lagos will add much colour to the week-long tournament. “The
opportunities available in football are boundless, so we will commit
to delivering a successful and model event that will spur us to
encourage and support women’s football in our institutions of learning
in Lagos State.”

Speaking earlier, Mr. Pinnick informed Governor Sanwo-Olu that the LOC
members were A-list individuals carefully drawn from the football,
business and political spheres, and are already aligned to the fact
that the Aisha Buhari Invitational Tournament must meet the best
standards possible anywhere, and has to leave worthy legacies that
will reflect brilliantly on Nigeria’s image in the universe.

“I want to specially thank Governor Sanwo-Olu for the role has played
in supporting the Super Eagles and other National Teams, but let me
say here that the month of September is a loaded one. The Super Eagles
will kick off their 2022 World Cup qualifying race against Liberia in
Lagos on 3rd September, and then fly from here to play Cape Verde
away. The Aisha Buhari Cup is a very big project, because nothing must
go wrong. We want to do it so well that subsequent editions will have
a template to fall back on.”

Chairman of the LOC, Barr. Akinwunmi praised Sanwo-Olu for his
tremendous support and encouragement of football in Lagos State and
nationally, and pledged that the committee will organize a tournmaent
worthy of the name of the First Lady and which honours the Centre of

In her vote of thanks, the Director of Organization, Aisha Falode said
hosting the tournament is a big opportunity for Nigeria to make a
statement, and that the entire LOC membership was attuned to the
vision of using the tournament to engender new, positive narratives
about Lagos State (the cradle of women’s football in Nigeria) and the
Nigeria nation.

At the occasion were Pinnick, Akinwunmi, Falode, Sola Aiyepeku
(Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission); Toyin Gafaar Bolowotan (DG,
LSSC); Alh. Ibrahim Musa Gusau (Member, LOC); Dr Wole Aboderin
(Member); Mr Saidu Suleman (Member); Mrs Amina Daura (Deputy Director
of Organization); Rt. Hon. Margaret Icheen (Member); Hon. Ayo Omidiran
(Member); Mr Ademola Olajire (Director of Publicity); Mrs Ufuoma
McDermott (Member); Miss Oluwakemi Areola (Member); Mr Olayinka
Olagbemiro (Member); Miss Ese Okpomo (Member); Mr Kola Daniel
(Member); Mr Rajan Zaka (Finance Director); Mr Mohammed Ameenu (Ag.
Secretary) and Mr Taye Ige (Marketing Consultant).


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