By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has received the trophy of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) ahead of the opening of the tournament in Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, next year.
The trophy, arriving from Morocco, touched down in Lagos on Thursday.
The trophy was presented to Sanwo-Olu by Visa team led by Vice President and Head of West Africa Cluster, Andrew Uaboi.
Visa is the official digital payment provider approved by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Receiving the trophy at the State House in Marina, Sanwo-Olu said the symbolic gesture reinforced the importance the nation attached to talent development, noting that Nigerians looked forward to interesting contest and exciting moments at 2023 AFCON.
Sanwo-Olu tipped the Super Eagles to win the trophy, saying the national team had the physical skills it needed to be victorious in the tournament. With the right player selection and proper preparation, the Governor said Super Eagles would make Nigeria proud.
He said: “AFCON may be a continental competition but the platform has grown over the years to be global brand. The world is patiently waiting for the opening match to kick off. We are looking forward to exciting moments when the competition starts in January. We are fully committed to making our team coming out strong and compete in the league.”
While AFCON may be a global brand, Sanwo-Olu said he expected CAF to inject local flavour in the contest.
The Federation, he said, should engage indigenous skills to help in diverse areas and make the organisation of the game better.
The Governor said Lagos would continue to support development of local football talents and sustain the excitement in sports.
Uaboi thanked Sanwo-Olu for the hosting the team, noting that Lagos was chosen as the host of the trophy’s tour, given its position in the country as a hub for sports.
The trophy will move to Egypt on Friday and will crisscross all the 24 participating countries before landing in Abidjan – the host city.