Nigeria and Morocco have been drawn to kick off the Dr. Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament, which the City of Lagos will host between 13th and 21st September.
At a glamorous draw ceremony held yesterday in Lagos to heralded the much-anticipated women’s tournament, ten-time African champions Super Falcons were drawn in Group A along with Morocco and Mali.
They are to play their matches at the newly refurbished Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, while Group B, consisting of the Indomitable Lioness of Cameroon, Black Queens of Ghana and Banyana Banyana of South Africa will play their games at Agege Stadium.
A clutch of dignitaries, including captains of industry, top officials of Lagos State Sports Commission, top acts of the local organizing committee, Super Falcons’ player and Super Falcons’ assistant coach, women’s football financiers and enthusiasts, and representatives of the media witnessed the epoch event at the Australia Hall of the Eko Hotel & Suites in Victoria Island.
The draw ceremony was preceded by a press conference, where Chairman of the LOC, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi outlined the objectives of the tournament, which includes galvanizing the critical sectors of the country to support the women’s game better in view of the abundance of talent in the country; promote and project what Her Excellency, the First Lady, Dr Aisha Buhari is doing with her Future Assured Programme; highlight the several opportunities and possibilities embedded in women’s football; showcase Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence and; further project to the international sphere Nigeria’s immense talent in women’s football, the good attitude of Nigerians and the organizational skill of Nigerians.
Director of Organization, Ms Aisha Falode minced no words in saying that the coming tournament is more than just football played on the field. She contended that what Her Excellency is doing with the Future Assured Programme dovetails excellently with the tenets and spirit of the FIFA Women’s Development Programme, which is all about the girl-child and her health as well as economic empowerment and educational enhancement. She revealed that the organizers want to use the tournament to build positive and enduring narratives about women’s football, Lagos State and Nigeria generally.
A member of the LOC representing the Office of the First Lady, Dr Wole Aboderin, read Her Excellency’s speech, in which she appreciated the President of NFF and the LOC, saying the tournament provides another window to meaningfully impact the life of the girl-child. She added that she has given her full support to the project, and charged all the participants to observe Fair Play as they will be Playing for Good. There were also messages of goodwill from Super Falcons’ players Asisat Oshoala, Onome Ebi, Desire Oparanozie, Rasheedat Ajibade and Gift Monday.