The Lagos State Government has pledged its full support towards the success of the Confederation of Africa (CAF) Beach Soccer Cup of Nations tournament scheduled to hold at the Eko Atlantic City between December 13 and 18, 2016.
Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu, made this known on Saturday at a press conference to herald the event which the Director of Organisation, Samson Adamu, declared would be the best ever organised in the history of CAF beach soccer.
“Lagos will give 110 per cent cooperation to ensure the success of the event,” Deji Tinubu said.
“We will work closely with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and you will see the best of Lagos during the period because the project is in consonance with the objective of the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to use sports to project everything good about Lagos by making Lagos a sports hub and, indeed, the preferred sports destination in Africa.”
“We want Nigeria to look good and we will do the best we can through this process because we are moving into a period where it is not about holding back and looking for negatives but about going for it, taking advantage of every opportunity to achieve greatness.”
The CAF Beach Soccer AFCON which is in its second edition was initially hosted by Beach Soccer Worldwide but has now been taken over by CAF and the Director Organisation, Samson Adamu who has been Organising the COPA Lagos beach soccer for the past five years, says the grant of the hosting right to Nigeria is an acknowledgement by CAF of how much the game has grown in Nigeria.
Eight African countries have qualified for the event tagged Nigeria 2016 which will also serve as qualification competition for the 2017 World Beach Soccer Tiurnament billed for Bahamas.
The participating countries are Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire in Group A and Madagascar, Libya, Senegal and Morocco in Group B. The two best teams in the tournament will qualify to represent Africa at the Bahamas 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup.
Adamu assures that the event will provide a rewarding entertainment for beach soccer fans as well as tourists during the month of December.
“It will be the best ever organised by CAF and it will take a long time meet the mark we intend to deliver. We have plans for very colourful and entertaining opening and closing ceremonies. There will be concerts with popular entertainment stars as well as a Fanzone to provide opportunity for brands to engage with spectators. There shall also be a Food Festival at the beach to accord the visiting teams a chance to showcase their various country culinary cultures.”
Emphasizing the importance of the event, Adamu pointed out that beach soccer is a major driver of tourism.
“The beach is a major driver of tourism and when you add football to it, it becomes a carnival. The host state, Lagos, is a strategic tourism destination and the event will further boost that and enable it to consolidate on its place in the world map.
While thanking CAF for granting Nigeria the hosting right and the Lagos State Government for accepting to host, chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Seyi Akinwunmi who is also Vice President of the NFF and chairman of Lagos State Football Association, assured that his team is “committed to delivering a world class event.”