…As Nigeria Takes Senegal in group A Fixtures
By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
The draw for the second African Minifootball Nations’ Cup Competition group stage has been held and fixed by the African Minifootball Confederation (AMC).
The draw for the competition which is scheduled to hold between July 8 and 17 was held in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital.
The Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, who was the Guest of Honour at the event, expressed the readiness of the state to host the second edition of the Africa Minifootball Nations’ Cup Competition.
The Deputy Governor assured there is adequate security for all the participants and officials, as well as supporters coming from 16 different African countries.
Engr. Olaniyan charged the representatives of those countries to allow their players, officials and supporters to explore the tourism potentials of Oyo State during their stay.
The President of the Africa Minifootball Confederation, Achraf Ben Salha, disclosed that the best five teams in the tournament will represent Africa in the 2022 Minifootball in Ukraine, saying that this is the qualification for them.
Apart from Ivory Coast, the champions of Africa, Tunisia, Senegal and Libya are well known in Minifootball but other teams are new and this is their first edition.
“This tournament will be a very interesting one and this is very good for Nigeria to host the rest of Africa.
“I’m proud to say, if we agree together, Nigeria can host the next Minifootball World Cup, the facility here at Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort is the best in Africa, I have visited round the world, I have never seen a place like Ilaji Sports Resort and I must thank the National President, Nigeria Minifootball Association, Hon. Oluyemi Taiwo for making the dream a reality,” Ben Salha said.
In his speech, the Chairman, Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, Chief Dotun Sanusi, disclosed that the Resort is established with a vision to be leading hospitality and entertainment outfit in Nigeria and Africa through the provision of consistent classy services and activities to guests on an enviable platform to discovering and nurturing of sporting talents to stardom.
He said: “our journey into strategic sporting alliance began with our partnership with SWIEQI United FC OF Malta and not long after, we were able to secure the franchise of Malaga CF of Spain; this partnership with Malaga CF has given birth to Malaga CF Nigeria Academy. I am happy to tell you that we have players from Manchester in the United Kingdom and Dakar, Senegal that have enrolled in our Academy and they along with about a hundred academy players are residing in this Resort.
“Less than six months, precisely last December, we hosted a world title fight between a Nigerian, Ridwan Scorpion and Lucas Matias Montesino, an Argentine. Also, Malaga CF Academy Coach, Marcos Antonio and a football agent from Portugal were here for about a week for a coaching and football clinic. Therefore, hosting international competitions is more or less a daily exercise for us here at Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort.”
He said further that the security architecture in the residing local government is second to none, while assuring that available facilities are enough to accommodate not less than 400 players.
The President of the Nigeria Minifootball Association, Hon. Oluyemi Adewale Taiwo said Nigeria is very proud to host the most talented and gifted amateur footballers across sixteen African countries, adding that it is a stepping stone to the professional international football game.
According to him, it will give a platform to groom rising, young talents for higher honour, and as a stepping stone to the professional football games, this tournament provides a wonderful opportunity for the footballers and coaches who gather here in Nigeria for this tournament. There is no better experience for young sportsmen than being selected to represent their countries in an event of this stature, importance and magnitude.
In the draw which was performed by the President of African Minifootball Confederation, Achraf Ben Salha and former Super Eagles star, Mutiu Adepoju, saw the first edition defending champion, Ivory Coast was handed a tricky set of fixtures in Group C which also includes Somalia, Egypt and Ghana.
The host nation, Nigeria was placed in Group A along with Senegal, Morocco and Djibouti.
While group B features the Benin Republic along with South Africa, Burkinafaso and Tunisia, Group D is headlined by Libya, Gambia, Zambia and Algeria.