Three weeks after the successful hosting of the CAF Confederation Cup final by Akwa Ibom State, the general coordinator of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the event, Elder Paul Bassey, has lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for a ‘near flawless’ hosting.
Speaking in Ilorin at the weekend, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Emmanuel on Sports, said the most challenging part of the assignment was the security and safety of the various visitors that trooped into Nigeria for the continental final.
He said: “Two days before the final, we witnessed the arrival of the seven-man VAR group from Switzerland and I said to myself …God, have mercy. After that came the CAF team, most of them ‘whites,’ the Moroccan delegation, the CAF guests and VIPs. That they all came in and left safely without any incident, whatsoever, makes me salute Governor Emmanuel for superintending one of the safest, if not the safest state in Nigeria.
“In the course of taking a hosting decision, security concerns were raised, yet the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF convinced CAF that Akwa Ibom was safe, peaceful and hospitable and this was manifested to the letter through a robust security architecture that left nothing to chance. Even spectators that turned out in great number, going back home by midnight had nothing to fear.”
Bassey also commended the chairman of the LOC and Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Monday Ebong Uko, who oversaw an action plan that made the state, as well as Nigeria, proud as successful host of the continental show piece.
“Despite the hosting rumours, we were officially informed of the success of our bid just 10 days to the final. This sounds impossible, yet the LOC chairman believed we could do it and galvanised all into action, including his colleagues in the Ministries of Health, Information and Strategy and Special Duties.
“Looking back, this can be considered one of the greatest challenges of my sports career, that is why we are grateful to God, His Excellency and the good people of Akwa Ibom State that we made the NFF and Nigeria proud for believing in us. The media was vociferous, Akwa Ibomites turned out in their thousands despite the late kick-off time of 8:00p.m, 25,000 strong to support two neutral teams.”
Recall that Nigeria, through Akwa Ibom State, was saddled with the responsibility of hosting the CAF Confederation Cup final between Orlando Pirates of South Africa and RS Berkane of Morocco on May 20, 2022 in Uyo.
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