World football –governing body, FIFA has confirmed that the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Tournament taking place in the city of Lagos 15th – 21st September will be employed for ranking of participating teams.
This much was contained in a letter sent to the Director of Organization of the ABC, Ms Aisha Falode on 6th September 2021 and signed by Sara Booth (MBE), Head of Competitions (Women’s Football Division). The letter read, inter alia: “We are working very closely with CAF on this particular topic as we want to make sure that all African teams that are playing friendly matches are eligible for ranking points.”
FIFA has also given the Local Organizing Committee authorization to go ahead and stage the one-week tournament which holds at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena and Agege Stadium.
Hosts Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Mali, Ghana and Morocco are the six teams who will battle for honours at the tournament being staged in honour of the country’s First Lady, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria legend Rita Nwadike has poured encomiums on the First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Aisha Buhari for agreeing to headline the upcoming Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament.
Nwadike said the Aisha Buhari Cup with the theme Playing for Good is a most laudable project under the First Lady’s Future Assured Programme (FAP) for the girl-child, women and the less privileged in the society.
“I thank the organisers of the Aisha Buhari Cup who took the bold step to meet with Mr President’s wife over this noble project and the First Lady’s decision to support the bringing of the best women teams in Africa to Nigeria. For the girl-child, it’s the best gift possible and I want to appreciate her for doing this noble project during her tenure.
On the Super Falcons’ squad, Nwadike asserted the players therein are the best and capable of lifting the maiden ABC trophy for the country.
“I’m satisfied with the list, I think that’s the best the new team’s handler can work with at the moment. He is familiar with all the players and has been working with them at various tournaments. He cannot begin now to experiment, not at this invitational tournament that everyone is coming to win.
The Aisha Buhari Foundation focuses on women, young girls as well as vulnerable citizens like widows, orphans and the disabled. The programme involves training for entrepreneurial skills and provision of starter packs, conditional and unconditional cash transfers and provision of business tools.
Meanwhile, a girls’ grassroots football team, Infinitus Football Academy, bankrolled by former Nigeria international goalkeeper Rachael Ayegba, has thrown its weight behind the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament. The six-nation showpiece scheduled to be held from September 15 to 21 this month.
With the theme in mind, the young girls of the Lokoja-based Academy declared their solidarity for the competition, which is inaugurated to motivate the girl-child to embrace football and also grow the women’s game on the continent.
Team Coach Timothy Emmanuel harped on the opportunities behind the initiative and the future impact on the girls’ careers.
“We are excited with the positive responses of the girls to the vision and mission of the competition and the possibility of shaping the future of the young girls,” Emmanuel told ABC media.
Responding on behalf of the team, captain Fatimah Ahmed said: “We are happy to know about the Aisha Buhari Cup. We support the idea because we all want our future to be assured through football. We also believe that one day, we will all grow up to have the chance to represent our country and play in the competition or even in a bigger one.”
Earlier, Ayegba, who spoke from her base in Finland, expressed belief that the Aisha Buhari Cup will not only shape the dream of the girl-child in Nigeria but across the continent.
“I am happy to see how the young girls are feeling about the invitational tournament. It will surely go a long way to inspire them to pursue their career in football.”