By Tunde Eludini
Ten years after Nigeria last hosted a FIFA World Cup event, the country is set for another chance as the world football governing body seems ready to award the country the hosting right of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup for 2020.
The breakthrough came following months of pressure on FIFA by the Nigerian Football Federation whose president is said to be working hard to bring as many FIFA and CAF competitions to the country.
Sources close to FIFA has revealed to PREMIUM TIMES that officials from the world body are already planning an inspection exercise to Nigeria to ascertain if the country would be fit to host the second biggest women football event on the FIFA calendar.
“Officials from Zurich are expected in August for a four-day inspection tour and some of what they would be looking out for during the planned visit is what Nigeria can offer in terms of infrastructure/operations, security, medical and the likes,” a source in the know of happenings in FIFA told PREMIUM TIMES.
It was also gathered that the world football governing is planning to spend as much as $4m on the event which effectively takes off a huge chunk of the financial burden from Nigeria, if finally given the hosting rights.
The news came a day after NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, completed his two-year tenure as 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football. CAF President, who is facing corruption charges, failed to recommend Mr. Pinnick for another term of office.
But despite stepping down as CAF’s first vice president, Mr Pinnick remains a strong member of the CAF exco. He also remains a member of the organising committee for FIFA competitions.
The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is an international association football tournament, organised by FIFA for national teams of women under the age of 20.
The tournament is held in even-numbered years.
It was first conducted in 2002 as the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship with an upper age limit of 19.
In 2006, the age limit was raised to the current 20.
No African country has ever hosted the event and Nigeria is looking set to be the first, having been pencilled down by FIFA to stage the 10th edition of the biennial football event.
Interestingly, Nigeria has made it to the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on two occasions in 2010 and 2014 but was defeated by Germany both times.
The last FIFA event held in Nigeria was the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was the thirteenth edition of the tournament.
It was staged from October 24 to 15 November 2009 across some major cities in the country.