The Pinnacle of world football is the FIFA world Cup at the senior level. The idea of staging the competition every four years was conceived in 1930 shortly after the World War 1 as part of effort to broker peace in the globe. Since the inception of the tournament in 1930 when European Country Italy hosted, 17 other countries have also held the competitions on their home soil with South Africa being the only African country to have successfully hosted the mundial in 2010 .
FIFA president Gianni Infantinohas urged African countries to submit bid for the subsequent hosting rights of the World Cup , knowing full well that 2022 and 2026 world cup hosting rights have been taken by Oil rich Asian country Qatar and the multiple North American host nations of Canada, Mexico and USA. The 2030 hosting right bid is still open for African countries as South Africa and North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia and even Egypt are considering bidding for the tournament whilst Australia have also indicated interest in staging the mundial in the Oceania region. In the past, Nigeria successfully hosted the U-20 World Cup in 1999 and U-17 ten years after but the country is not yet ripe enough to stage World biggest football competition in the world due to some certain reasons.
For any country to stage the FIFA World cup ,there has to be a semblance of political stability in the country. Nigeria’s democracy is 19 years old but the country is still enmeshed in instability, as there are still pockets of political crisis in the country. Political thugs are still being hired by politicians on a daily basis to protect them and secure votes in their favour before during and after elections. The Movement for the emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) a group fighting for the interest of the people of the South- South geopolitical zones in the country also fight government over some policies perceived not to be in their favour. In 2009 when Nigeria hosted the U 17 world cup, MEND threatened to disrupt the competition and Warri had to be removed as one of the host venues because of its proximity to the region. Up North, herdsmen have resorted into occasional attack of villages, destruction of properties and massive killings of people & animals over what they considered as anti grazing policies and actions of the government and the people.
Another stumbling block militating against Nigeria as regards hosting of the FIFA world cup is her economic shortcomings. Nigeria has been in and out of recession and it is not advisable for a country experiencing economic recession and instability to stage a global event of that magnitude. For any country to be given world cup hosting right, FIFA would weigh and measure such country’s economy in a view to check and confirm if the country has the economic wherewithal to stage the competition without incurring external debts which can in turn injure the country’s economy many years after. Another problem that can affect Nigeria’s bid is power. The entire country is using a meager 7,000 megawatts and that explains why power is erratic. For Nigeria to be considered for the hosting of the worldcup Power has to be properly fixed.
Transportation is key when it comes to hosting of FIFA world cup but Nigeria does not have a suitable transportation system. For any country to successfully host senior FIFA world cup it must have a working transportation system that will cut across all levels ranging from train, ship, airplanes and buses. The previous hosts of the FIFA world cups have got good transportation systems and it aided the smooth hosting of the competitions. Nigerian roads and transportation systems have to be fixed to a certain level for the country to be considered by FIFA for World cup hosting right.
The on goingNigeria Football Federation (NFF) leadership tussle between Amaju Melvin Pinnickand Barrister Chris Giwais one of the many battles being fought by different sports federations across the and breadth of the country. Nigeria has been plunged into football administrative crisis for many years with no end in sight. FIFA has always threatened Nigeria with a ban from participating in world football if its government continue to interfere in the country’s affairs and administrators do not find a lasting solution to its lingering crisis. A country that is perceived not stable administratively cannot bid for the hosting of a major competition like the seniorFIFA World Cup.
The existing infrastructural facilities of a country plus its seriousness to build new ones are duly considered before a country can get the hosting right of a senior FIFA World Cup. Most Stadiums in Nigeria are not in good shape because of the country’s poor maintenance culture. The Abuja stadium and the National stadium in Lagos are in a terribly bad shape and cannot be approved to host any major international tournament in its present state. For any country to get the world cup hosting right, basic infrastructural facilities has to be provided by the government in power. More so, befitting accommodation, eye catching tourist centres and five star hotels have to be readily available for players, Officials administrators and guests before and during the competition.
–FEMI FABUNMI – 08155134187