…tourney gets FIFA accolade for focus on women football
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, has said plans are in top gear to host the second edition of the Betsy Obaseki Women Pre-Season Football Championship in Edo State.
Speaking at the inauguration of the organizing committee for the tournament, in Benin City, Shaibu said the annual tournament has improved women football in Nigeria.
Commending the Edo State First Lady for initiating the tournament, he said, “I thank the First Lady for this initiative. As a government, we are thankful to you for this initiative. We want to return Edo State to the number one sporting destination in Nigeria. We want to make our state a hub for all sporting activities.
“Most importantly, this tournament is one that has also come at a time when we are fighting the ills in society, especially illegal migrations, drug abuses and other social vices."
Shaibu said hosting the first edition of the tournament in 2021 exposed the challenges confronting the girl-child through strategic engagement with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
“I was at the 72nd FIFA convention in Qatar recently. A major focus for FIFA in the next five years is promotion of female soccer and I was impressed when competitions like ours was mentioned as an example of what needs to be promoted in Africa.
“I was invited because of some of the things we are doing in dealing with issues of female involvement in sports."
In her remarks, the Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Obaseki said, “The inauguration of the organizing committee is the first event that signals the commencement of preparations for the tournament. That is why we are having this press conference and inaugurating the committee properly.”
“The proposed date for this year's tournament will hold from September 7 to 17, 2022. We are going to have the tournament for about ten to eleven days.”
She noted, “In our usual tradition of hosting this tournament around a focal issue pertaining to the girl-child and the female gender in Edo state, last year we focused on promoting the girl child. This year, we are going to say no to drug abuse.”