The Enugu State government has declared that the facilities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, were functional and up to standard of hosting international matches.
According to the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Manfred Nzekwe while speaking with newsmen in Enugu, on Thursday during a visit to the stadium, stated that the certification of the stadium by FIFA was ”not a fluke” as its scoreboard, floodlights, toilets and other necessary facilities were all in good condition.
“FIFA knows the standard of the stadium before certifying it among the stadiums that will host its matches.
“It’s worth celebrating because the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and League Management Company (LMC), before the ongoing league session, said that the stadium cannot host its matches.
“With the announcement, the Enugu State Government swung into action and upgraded the facilities at the stadium.
“This showed that our efforts in upgrading the stadium in 2020, did not go unnoticed and the state government deserves applause”, he said.
It will be recalled that FIFA had certified the stadium, as one of the venues to host its 2022 World Cup qualifier matches, alongside Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, and Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.
Also certified were, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt and Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
The commissioner said that he would be glad to see the Super Eagles play one of its World Cup qualifiers and African Nations Cup matches in Enugu, as the stadium was ready for matches at any time of the day.
“We just hosted the NPFL/Laliga under-15 tournament and if not that the organisers rejected night matches, we would have watched the matches under floodlights.
“The organiser said that night matches will be tedious for players in such age grade.
“I can also remember that this stadium hosted an international match in 2016, without hitches,”Nzekwe said.
Nzekwe added that the stadium had all that it takes to host international matches, in view of the state’s hospitality, peaceful nature, and fans comportment, before, during and after matches.