Lagos State government on Wednesday 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 (AFCON) with Benin Republic.
The state deputy governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, gave this assurance while receiving on behalf of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the CAF Inspection Team who were on a courtesy visit at the Round House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Hamzat assured that the state had all it takes as one of the centers in successfully hosting a great sport event like the African Cup of Nations, saying that “it has the people, the facilities, and the commitment of the government.”
This was just as he recalled 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.
“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,” the deputy governor said.
Hamzat, while assuring the delegation of good hospitality in the state which he noted would be the combination of both public and private sectors, said the state was aiming beyond the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, as it also planned to build the interest of the young generations in football.
“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 teams, that is the goal,” he said.
The deputy governor disclosed that the state was not only renovating the Teslim Balogun Stadium to ensure that it was elevated beyond the standard, for the purpose of the competition in the year 2027 and beyond but was 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.
According to him, nine stadia were being constructed in places Agege, Ifako-Ijaye, Ikorodu, and Epe, among others, saying that the essence was to also start a lot of community football for communities to play, just as he further assured that the Teslim Balogun Stadium would be ready before the end of the year.
“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 said.
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 had 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 had been proposed to host the competition, adding: “It is hoped that the venues proposed in Nigeria will pass the test.”
He added that it was s 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 did not make the list of proposed venues.
Mallam Illo, therefore, urged the state government to hasten work at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, saying that the team had visited the place and observed that construction was ongoing as well as other training centers that would be used for the competition.
He also requested that the state government ensure the provision of good hospitals, hotels for Very Important Personalities (VIPs), among others.