Friday, November 6, 2009

U 17 World Cup, Tourism and Nigeria 3.

Just because pictures tell the story, we include just a few shots to tell the story of the soccer fiesta going on in Nigeria.

We want to say thank you to FIFA for keeping faith in us, and for ignoring the antics of our detractors, by awarding the hosting right to us. We especially want to thank FIFA for ignoring our foibles and inability to get our house in order in a timely fashion. We thank them for giving us added time to sort ourselves out. While some sceptics lost faith, FIFA never did, while our detractors even suggested other countries to replace Nigeria, FIFA never bought those suggestions, instead they kept urging us to get it right, and it has all paid off handsomely.

At this point, congratulation is in order for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the country’s football governing body. The Presidency and the good people of Nigeria without whom, this tournament will not be. Despite all the challenges and distractions that ensued, we are hosting the world once again at last. Let someone pop the champagne and shout hurray! Especially should the residence of the hosting cities congratulate themselves, if nothing, this event is a veritable opportunity for the upgrade of some essential social infrastructures, for the benefit of the masses.

It is not only the football community that benefits from this event, but all of us. As a matter of fact, my constituency, tourism is the biggest gainer. And why not? All our guests will be hosted somewhere; do I hear you say, the hotels, and exotic resorts? Sure. And, after we have all shouted ourselves hoarse, and drain our emotions supporting our countries on the pitch, we definitely need somewhere to unwind, relax and refresh. The host nation has made adequate arrangement to cater to all our needs in this critical area. Opportunities abound for us to unwind, all the hosting cities have a vibrant night life to enable us catch some healthy fun.

In Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, there are numerous places to unwind. Night life in this city of aquatic splendour, which is also known as the centre of excellence is thrilling to night crawlers. Your night life may not be complete without a visit to the African Shrine in Ikeja. Neither will your stay complete without your exploring the long stretch of unpolluted beaches along the Lagos Epe corridor and Badagry.

Night life in Calabar and Abuja is quite vibrant; there are clubs and other fun spots that serve this very important purpose. There are good foods. Local delicacies and intercontinental dishes are there to make ones palate and visit pleasant and memorable. Trust Calabar, it has all that and even more in abundance. Abuja too is not left behind in this area, given its’ status as the capital of Nigeria, Abuja the centre of unity boasts of beautiful relaxation spots and hotels to cater to any taste. Other hosting cities such as Bauchi, Kaduna, and Kano in northern Nigeria have a lot to thrill our visitors. A stay in Bauchi will not be complete without a visit to the Yankari Games Reserve.

Enugu fans are something else, they are unique, they are special, and they are the best. Why? Enugu fans make you feel the world cup fever months before the event kicked off. No doubt, any visitor to Enugu will be treated to a memorable football festival that will not be forgotten in a hurry. They love soccer in this hosting city, and it is obvious in their interactions.

For those who will be in Ijebu Ode, a visit to the famous Olumo Rock, Abeokuta will further enrich your stay. The good people of Ijebu Ode, a city in Ogun state, south west Nigeria, are very friendly. A memorable tour awaits any tourist who does so. Lastly, whatever World Cup hosting city you may find yourself, the joy of the world cup will not be complete, unless you take time to sample our culture. Sample our foods, drinks, dance, language, and what have you. Welcome, welcome to my land.

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