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Aisha Buhari

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) charged with the responsibility to organise the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament has reiterated their unflinching commitment towards organising the high profile Aisha Buhari Cup

The committee led by Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, who doubles as the 1st Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Chairman, Lagos State Football Association is buoyed up to put in place a flawless and seamless football showpiece with the rush of quality supports coming from the movers and shakers of football across the globe.

Already key actors in the round leather game have weighed into the football fiesta namely the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, CAF President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, and the programme initiator, NFF president, CAF Executive and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Pinnick, among other top-ranked football dignitaries across the globe.

The top-grade six-nation tournament being put together by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in honour of the country’s First Lady will see the hosts, Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana, South Africa, Mali and Morocco try to outdo the other in a celebratory and convivial duel.

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The First Lady’s Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) ‘the Aisha Buhari Foundation’ with its catchword ‘Future Assured’ is an advocacy outfit pushing to the front banner the wellbeing of women, children and adolescents. The NGO tries to optimize the potentials of women youth and children through interventions in health, education and economic empowerment. Aside from football, the event will try to sensitise Africans on the benefits of sports to global development. It will address issues affecting women in developing countries with direct reference to the place of the girl-child in society. These are core values being promoted by the country’s First Lady in her pet project ‘Future Assured’.

The laudable objectives embedded in the First Lady’s NGO are in tandem with the FIFA global strategy for women’s football. The world football governing body believes that women’s football brings one very important benefit to the many young girls and women involved in the game – empowerment. Encouraging empowerment through football, growing the game, getting more girls involved in it earlier and keeping women in football longer are all key elements of FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy.

Here the FIFA first female Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura speaks on the import of the programme.

“The women’s game is a top priority for FIFA and via our new strategy, we will work hand-in-hand with our 211 member associations around the world to increase grassroots participation, enhance the commercial value of the women’s game and strengthen the structures surrounding women’s football to ensure that everything we do is sustainable and has strong results. Most importantly it will make football more accessible to girls and women and encourage female empowerment, a subject of great importance, now more than ever before.”

The Director of Organisation, Aisha Falode enthused that the quality of persons keying into and commending the programme is a clear testimony to the fact that the nation’s First Lady is highly regarded and respected within and outside the shores of the country.

“The growing number of highly placed persons keying into the programme is heartwarming and confirmation of world acclaim respect for the First Lady of Nigeria and what she stands for especially as it concerns the girl-child. The identification of key world football personalities for the programme is in line with the football body’s programmes of growth, commercialisation, marketing and rebranding of women’s football, which of late have seen issues affecting the game receiving global attention at every forum.

“The FIFA strategies for the Women’s Game are captured in its five-point agenda: “Develop and Grow on and off the Pitch, Showcase The Game and Improve Women’s Competitions, Communicate and Commercialise, Broaden Exposure and Value, Govern and Lead, Strive For Gender Balance, Educate and Empower, Build Capacity and Knowledge.”

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“FIFA and CAF are deeply involved with various programmes on empowerment, leadership and governance among the women folks. The leadership of these football bodies have sunk huge intervention funds in various programmes directed at women and these interventions are in tandem with Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari’s pet NGO project ‘Future Assured’ with its central theme on Girl-Child Empowerment,” said NWFL chairperson, NFF executive member and foremost broadcast journalist.

The LOC boss who once served as a Member, CAF Committee on Youth Competition and Organising Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations said the committee will cash in on the opportunity provided by the football showpiece to boldly underscore Nigeria’s competence in organising a major event.

“The only work we have now is to harness the expertise, knowledge, experience and skills of the various individuals to impact on the key areas of the organisation aimed at delivering a first-grade tournament.

“It is a long time that our country hosted a major championship. Although this is an invitational, we have a responsibility to activate everything needed for a first-grade championship and uphold the excellent virtues for which our country’s First Lady is known for,” he said.

The Six-Nation Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament is scheduled to hold in Lagos, Nigeria from September 14-20, 2021.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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