Ibadan-based Ilaji Sports Resort Stadium has been endorsed by the African Minifootball Confederation as the venue of the forthcoming African Minifootball Confederation Cup of Nations scheduled for July 2021.
The endorsement was given by the President of the African Minifootball Confederation, Mr Achraf Ben Salha at the World Press Conference held on Thursday at the Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort stadium, Akanran, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Speaking at the Conference, Achraf rated the facilities of the stadium as good for the tournament as he gave the assurance of a hitch-free tournament.
He said that a total number of 16 teams would be competing at the tournament. The teams are Ivory Coast who are the defending champions, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, Benin, Zambia, Egypt, Somalia, South Africa, Djibouti, Libya, Burkina Faso, Mali and Algeria.
He further added that the winner of the competition will stand to represent Africa at the World Mini-football competition Cup in Ukraine in 2022.
Achraf disclosed that “The first time I met President of the Nigerian Minifootball Association (NMA), Honourable Oluyemi Adewale, he said to me, I want to start the activities in Nigeria by organising a Mini-football competition, he said we can do it and I’m here now to check whether the dream is yes or no but It is a reality.”
“As you know the tournament is scheduled for last year but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airports were closed, so many African countries were asking if Nigeria is truly ready for the tournament, I’m here in Nigeria to say yes, they are ready.
“The tournament will start between July 8-17 where 16 teams will participate and the winner will go to Ukraine for Mini-football World Cup in 2022. The draws will hold on June 9 in this very nice place, Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, Ibadan and I will like to congratulate the CEO of Ilaji, Engineer Dotun Sanusi for hosting the rest of the African countries.
“This is a very nice place to be, I have visited many countries of the world and never I saw magnificent place like this place (Ilaji Sports Resort), I’m very happy to be here. The stadium facilities are welcome and we are good to go,” he said.
In his address, Honourable Adewale said “We have been around since Sunday to host our President, Mr Achraf Ben Salha in Abuja and we made a visitation to National Assembly to interface with House Committee on Sports and Senate Committee on Sports and the meeting went well with the assurance that they are ready to support the brand new game of Minifootball.
“We are not an antagonist to conventional football. Rather, Minifootball should be a veritable avenue for conventional football to tap from because this is a game that involves pure skill. We can get as many as Austin Okocha, Mutiu Adepoju, Daniel Amokachi, Finidi George, Kanu Nwankwo of this world from the game of Minifootball,” he said
In his remark, Chief Operating Officer of the Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, Prince Adesina Araoye further reinstated that the facilities were fully ready for the tournament.
“From the tour of facilities Mr Achraf Ben Salha had, he has acknowledged the fact we are fully prepared except for minor things we need to tidy up.
“Based on the assessment and based on confirmation that Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort will be the venue of this competition, we have accepted the responsibility to provide our facilities and beyond that, we are going to get fully involved in ensuring we have a very exciting and hitch-free and better tournament than the first edition.”