By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
President of world football –governing body, FIFA, Gianni Infantino has recalled beautiful memories of his visit to Nigeria last month where he met with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR; the First Lady, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Buhari and; a clutch of dignitaries in Nigeria’s political and football space.
In a letter personally addressed to President of Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick and dated 6 October 2021, the world football supremo exulted about the meetings he had, the organization of the maiden edition of Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament and the positive visibility and immense quality that Pinnick represent for Nigeria in the global football hemisphere.
“On behalf of the entire FIFA delegation, we would like to thank you for affording us such a cordial welcome and warm hospitality on the occasion of our recent visit to Nigeria, last 15 and 16 September. During this two-day visit, we have shared many important moments. Certainly, among the highlights were the audiences with H.E. Mr Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as well as with the First Lady H. E. Mrs Aisha Buhari, in Abuja, the opening match of the 2021 Aisha Buhari Cup, which we attended together, and the wonderful dinner organized in Lagos.
“Let me herewith seize the opportunity to thank the President and the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Mr Sunday Dare, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as well as yourself and your team for the organization of this competition, an important and successful initiative to promote women’s football and its values.”
The universal football family is still rhapsodizing about the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament, which had hosts Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, South Africa and Mali treating football fans to the best of women’s football on the African continent in six days of first grade entertainment at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos.
“Please rest assured that this visit has reinforced our determination to strengthen the development of football for men and women in Nigeria and to ensure that this beautiful sport, which unites us all, remains a formidable vehicle for social inclusion and education, especially for young people.”
It would be recalled that the Aisha Buhari Women’s Football Tournament was organized under the theme Playing for Good and under the banner of the First Lady’s Future Assured Programme which has health, education and economic empowerment as key aspects.
“Thanking you for all your efforts undertaken and for your contribution to the development of our sport and the promotion of its values in Nigeria and in Africa, I look forward, dear President, to seeing you again soon,” the FIFA President concluded in his letter, underscoring the high level of relevance and political weight that Amaju Melvin Pinnick continues to pull in the global football space.