President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will use football for the development of the girl-child, inspiring young people to have rewarding careers in the game.
He stated this while Receiving the FIFA delegation led by its president Gianni Infantino and the president of Confederation of African Football (CAF) Patrice Motsepe, at State House, Abuja
The President called on the top echelon of football’s world governing body to see Nigeria as one of its greatest assets when it comes to the development of football.
On women’s football, the President expressed delight that Nigeria had produced excellent role models to inspire the next generation of stars to take up the sport.
President Buhari, urged the leadership of the world football governing body to consider Nigeria top on its plan for support and investment.
He also told the visiting FIFA president, who is in the country for the six-nation Aisha Buhari Invitational Football Tournament, that his administration had adopted football as a national asset since 2017
He explained that the sport was being accorded the highest level of attention possible by the government to enable rapid development of abundant talents in the country.
The President thanked FIFA for making ABC, a ranking tournament, adding that he looks forward to more countries joining to participate in the future.
President Buhari, described football as one of the greatest sources of unity in the country as well as in many parts of the world.
The Nigerian leader commended the enormous work done by the organisation in the development of football, using it as a tool for positive social change and to drive global unity.
He pledged support for the latest FIFA initiative, the FIFA Connect programme which aims to drive football development at the grassroots using technology, assuring football body’s top echelon of Nigeria’s active participation in the programme .
Emphasising Nigeria’s huge pedigree in global and continental football, the President said the country has achieved successes in many international and continental competitions while maintaining close, cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with FIFA.
Also speaking, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare said Nigeria, as the leading black nation in the world, was central to all that FIFA is seeking to achieve in its football development plan.
In his remarks, Infantino renewed FIFA’s commitment to support the development of football in Nigeria, pledging to strengthen its partnership with the Nigeria Football Federation.
The FIFA president thanked President Buhari for supporting the development of the game, appealing to him to help FIFA amplify the message of football as a uniting force.
During the visit to the State House, the Nigerian president was presented with a number 10 jersey and a football.
The No. 10 jersey is iconic in football and usually worn by skillful players who have a great impact on a team.
Among the famous footballers who wore Number 10 jerseys are Jay-Jay Okocha, Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho, and Lionel Messi, who currently plays for PSG in Ligue 1, France.