REVEALED: Why NFF Is Organising Aisha Buhari Invitational Football Tournament
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By Amaechi Agbo
In less than four weeks, Lagos, Nigeria’s centre of commence will play host to six nations as Cameroon, South Africa, Ghana, Mali and Morocco including Nigeria female national football teams will arrive the country to take part in a six-nation Invitational Women’s Football tournament.
The one week competition will hold from September 13 to 21 in two cities in Lagos, South-West Nigeria.
However, www.besychoicesports.com.ng gathered that this great inaugural edition of the competition has two-polar objectives – to celebrate 30 years of female football in Nigeria and to promote Nigeria’s First Lady’s pet project, Future Assured Programme which targets girl child education.
Named after the country’s First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari, organisers said the invitational tournament would be an annual event in celebration of the evolution and development of women’s football as well as the celebration of the girl-child.
This year, the crème de la crème of women sides on the continent including South Africa, Mali, Ghana, Cameroon, and Morocco will join hosts Nigeria in the soccer fiesta (September 13th to 21st).
Speaking during the draw held on Wednesday, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Seyi Akinwunmi said “We equally found out that our objectives for this tournament aligned with the set objectives with the Future Assured Programme of the First Lady which is basically the promotion of the girl-child, and we have no doubt that football is a perfect medium to promote such ideals.
“Not many people reckoned with the fact that women’s football in Nigeria is already 30 years o but it was actually in the mix of conversation about how to celebrate this landmark that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick came up with the idea of hosting a tournament of this magnitude,” Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, the Local Organisation Committee (LOC) chairman told CAFOnline
“We equally found out that our objectives for this tournament aligned with the set objectives with the Future Assured Programme of the First Lady which is basically the promotion of the girl-child, and we have no doubt that football is a perfect medium to promote such ideals.”
Akinwunmi, who doubles as the NFF’s 1st Vice President, said the choice of Lagos is strategic, adding the former Nigeria’s capital city has a vibrant and perfect ambiance for the tournament already dubbed A-B-C (the acronym for Aisha Buhari Cup) by a section of the local media.
“The choice of Lagos as the host of the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Cup, is also strategic since the city already has virtually everything in place for a good tournament,” Akinwunmi further told CAFOnline.com.
“Lagos has everything in place as regards accommodation, security, medical facilities and with the on-going renovations at the two stadia (Mobolaji Johnson Arena and Agege Stadium) we are confident of a hitch-free tournament.”
Meanwhile, the draws for the competition which was conducted by Director of Organization Ms Aisha Falode on 18 August at the pristine at the Australia Hall of the Eko Hotel & Suites in Victoria Island (Lagos), pitched the hosts Nigeria in Group A along with Morocco and Mali.
But Group B seemed to be the proverbial ‘group of death’ with Cameroon, Ghana and South Africa.
The Super Falcons played their first international match on February 16, 1991 against Ghana’s Black Queens. The Nigerian ladies won the match 5-1 to signpost their emergence into global football scene.
The same year, the Super Falcons qualified for the maiden edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup where they played three matches in the group stage, lost all and conceded 7 goals under Jo Bonfrere.
However, despite the expected initial setbacks, the Super Falcons have gone on to dominate Africa women football, winning the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, AWCON on nine different occasions out of 11 editions as well as participating in all eight editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup from 1991 till date.