Nigerian sports facilities expert Ebi Egbe has called on his country’s authorities to bid for the hosting rights of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced last week their decision to strip Cameroon of next year’s continental finals.
They have opened up a bidding process for replacement hosts, and Egbe – who is the Chief Executive Officer of Monimichelle, a stadium construction outfit – noted that Nigeria could be ready for the tournament within just a few months.
"We have so many good stadiums in the country. All that these stadiums lack is good playing turfs, which can be fixed in less than three months,” he is quoted by Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper.
“The stadiums in Abuja, Uyo, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Katsina, Lagos, Makurdi, Aba, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe and Bauchi can host any major international competition.
“All that the government need do is to re-grass the pitches. Talking about hotels, there are good hotel facilities in all of these cities and they all have airports and these are the things CAF would be looking out for."
Egbe believes that hosting the 2019 AFCON would give Nigeria the impetus to sort out their problem of sub-standard pitches – an issue highlighted numerous times by national team manager Gernot Rohr.
"Only last week Rohr said poor playing condition is the biggest problem of Nigerian football. Hosting AFCON would help us solve that problem,” explained Egbe.
“Beyond that, Nigeria would not be matching words with action over her leadership role in Africa if countries like South Africa, Morocco and Egypt continue to take the shine off us when it comes to hosting major international tournaments.”