President Muhammadu Buhari has declared his administration’s commitment to the use of football for the development of the girl-child and inspiring young people to have rewarding careers in the game.
Mr Buhari made the declaration while receiving the FIFA delegation led by its President Gianni Infantino and the President of Confederation of African Football, CAF, Patrice Motsepe, at State House on Thursday.
According to him, the top echelon of football’s world governing body should see Nigeria as one of its greatest assets when it comes to the development of football.
On women’s football, the President expressed delight that Nigeria has produced excellent role models to inspire the next generation of stars to take up the sport.
‘‘Our National women’s football team, the Super Falcons are a force to reckon with both on the continent and internationally.
‘‘Some of our women footballers such as Asisat Oshoala, who only recently became the first African to win the women’s European Champions League with her club Barcelona.
‘‘Rasheedat Ajibade, Rita Chikwelu, Onome Ebi, who is the only African to have played in five FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals, Desire Oparanozie and before them Perpetual Nkwocha, Mercy Akide-Udoh, Nkiru Okosieme and Ann Chiejiene are globally recognized stars,’’ he said.
Mr Buhari, therefore, urged the leadership of the world football governing body to consider Nigeria top on its plan for support and investment.
The President also told the visiting FIFA President, who is in the country for the six-nation Aisha Buhari Invitational Football Tournament, that since 2017 his administration had adopted football as a national asset.
He explained that the sport is being accorded the highest level of attention possible by the government to enable rapid development of abundant talents in the country.
‘I have also approved the unveiling of a committee to draw up a 10-year football development master plan for the country.
‘‘I expect that the recommendations of this committee will accelerate the development of football. It is my hope that it will further improve the fortunes of the game internationally,” he said.