â€¢As Jack WarnerÂ apologises to Bauchi,
By Onochie Anibeze
FIFA Vice President JackÂ Warner yesterday described Bauchi as one of the best centres for the U-17 World Cup Nigeria will host from October.
Bauchi had been excluded as a venue before FIFAâ€™s last inspection. But the government of Isa Yuguda continued work and lobbied seriously for FIFA to give them another chance. They succeeded and when Warner led his team to the venue yesterday, he so commended the work done that he promised to apologise to the people of Bauchi and their government for eliminating them in his last visit.
â€œBauchi excelled, their rating should be same with Lagos,â€ another FIFA member said, adding â€œthe pitch on their main bowl and the practice pitch are of same standard, the hotel is good and their medicals were great too. They are among the top three in the country,â€
Bauchi is likely to take the place of Warri which was not given any room to effect changes or corrections. Enugu was given nine days to finish work and Kano given eight days to do theirs.
The draws will be made today in Abuja and Warner hopes to publicly apologise to Bauchi during the occasion that the Local Organising Committee said will be a spectacle.
Meanwhile, former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, has lamented the exclusion of Warri and said â€œwhen Delta hosted the WAFU competition, one of the points made for us to host the event was that it would be used to test-run facilities meant for the FIFA event; some of the venues used during WAFU could be used as training pitches as some are about 30 minutes or lessÂ to the city of Warri.â€
The venues sure to be announced today are Abuja, Lagos, Bauchi, Kaduna, Calabar andÂ Ijebu-Ode. Kano and Enugu who were given some days to finish work may also be announced.
â€œThey did a great job in Bauchi and all the people who came for the inspection were impressed. They started late but got it right when it mattered most,â€ Sani Toro said.