The much-awaited Aisha Buhari Invitational Women Football Tournament will kick off today with hosts, Super Falcons of Nigeria, taking on Mali’s Eagles in the opening match.
Also known as Aisha Buhari Cup, the matches of the competition will be played at the newly remodelled Mobolaji Johnson Arena, formerly Onikan Stadium, Lagos.
Yesterday, Nigeria and Mali took to the pitch to perfect their strategies ahead of today’s game.
HEADLINENEWS interviewed the first female administrator of a professional popular male soccer club – Stationery Stores FC Princess Gloria Adebajo-Fraser. MFR, who is also the founder of the Flamingo Queens which was the female wing of the Super Stores FC. Princess Gloria Adebajo-Fraser MFR is a special guest to the tournament and commended the first lady- Aisha Buhari for her initiative in order to promote female soccer in Nigeria.
Princess Gloria remarked that sports is known all over the world to encourage unity, peace and positive reactions which are vital areas that Nigeria needs at a time like this. Princess Gloria commended the organisers and sponsors of the tournament for a job well done. She hopes the tournament will be a regular event to be adopted by all Nigerian first ladies in future. “Aisha Buhari has set the pace and it deserves emulation”.
Princess Gloria was interviewed by Hilary Anderson of the BBC in a programme to recognise the Amazon’s in Africa. She has won several awards including the distinguished Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2005. Princess Gloria is a recipient of the Midas Award for sports and also the Arewa Odu’ua 1 of Yorubaland. She has excelled in the area of sports administration and has a pending application with the Guiness book of records. She is involved in Construction, Oil & Gas, Branding and other industry. She is a pride to the Adebajo family.
Onikan Stadium, she remarked used to be the home of the Super Stores FC since 65 years ago when her father and founder of Super Stores FC was alive. She noted that the Onikan Stadium would always bring good memories to her. I remember when I was honoured with an award by Gen Mobolaji Johnson some years back and he noted the contributions of my father to the development of Soccer in lagos, its quite unfortunate that the lagos state govt till date have not deemed it fit to honour and immortalise my father as an illustrious son of this state. I guess its all politics! “I pray that someday in the near future, we shall have a government in Lagos that would promote meritocracy and achievements rather than mediocrity.” This is a third world challenge!.
Among dignitaries at the stadium to watch the teams’ training sessions was Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, who also took time off to ensure the arena is fit for a championship of this magnitude.
According to the LOC media, Lagos First Lady, Ibironke Sanwo-Olu, held a meeting with the organisers yesterday, where she expressed excitement at the state of Mobolaji Johnson Arena.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu commended the LOC for the ideals, vision and mission set for the tournament, and for encouraging the Future Assured Programme of the First Lady of the Federal Republic, Aisha Buhari.
The LOC disclosed that FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, CAF President, Patrice Motsepe, FIFA Secretary, Fatma Samoura, and other world football personalities would attend today’s opening ceremony DSTV and Supersports are at the Onikan stadium for the live transmission of the match.
Also expected at the opening ceremony are top government officials, including Governor Sanwo-Olu, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, NFF President and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, members of the diplomatic corps, top officials of the Lagos State government, NFF board members, captains of industry and leading stakeholders of the game in Nigeria.
The six teams in the competition arrived in the country at the weekend, except South Africa that came in yesterday.
The LOC disclosed that it would host a dinner this night in honour of Infantino and Motsepe with Africa’s leading billionaire industrialist and philanthropist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, leading Corporate Nigeria to the event scheduled for Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island.
Our correspondent confirmed that the Super Falcons are lodged at a five star Hotel in Victoria Island. We shall be there for more interviews.