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Three weeks after Akwa Ibom State hosted the CAF Cup Final, the Local Organizing Committee’s General Coordinator, Elder Paul Bassey, praised Governor Emmanuel Udom for a “near faultless” hosting.

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The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Udom on Sports, speaking in Ilorin during an interactive session with Sports Journalists, said the most difficult part of the mission for him was ensuring the security and safety of the numerous visitors who flocked to Nigeria for the continental final.

We saw the entrance of the 7 man VAR crew from Switzerland two days before the final, and I thought to myself, “…God, have mercy.”

The CAF team, most of whom were “whites,” followed by the Moroccan delegation, CAF guests, and VIPs.

Governor Emmanuel deserves praise for overseeing one of Nigeria’s safest states, if not the safest, in which they all arrived and went without incident.

“Security worries were raised during the hosting decision, but the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF persuaded the CAF that Akwa Ibom was safe, calm, and welcoming, and that this was manifested to the letter through a robust security infrastructure that left nothing to chance.”

Even spectators that turned out in great number, going back home by midnight had nothing to fear.”

Elder Bassey also gave kudos to the Chairman of the LOC, and Commissioner for Youth and Sports Sir Monday Ebong Uko who oversaw an action plan that made Akwa Ibom, nay Nigeria proud as successful host of the continental show piece.

“Despite the hosting rumours, we were officially informed of the success of our bid just ten days to the final.  This sounds impossible, yet the LOC Chairman believed we could do it and galvanized all into action, including his colleagues in the Ministries of Health, Information and Strategy and Special Duties.

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“Looking back, this can be considered one of the greatest challenges of my sports career, that is why we are grateful to God, His Excellency and the good people of Akwa Ibom State that we made the NFF and Nigeria proud for believing in us.  The media was vociferous, Akwa Ibomites turned out in their thousands despite the late kick off time of 8:00p.m, 25,000 strong to support two neutral teams.

“We harnessed all human and material resources available to us, Ibom Air, excellent accommodation and internal transportation facilities, world class sports infrastructure… to deliver a well-organized and applauded final, advantage Nigeria.

“Overtime, the government of Akwa Ibom State has demonstrated capacity and sagacity in the delivery of key expectations advantage the people.

This was amplified when His Excellency decided to afford Nigerians the opportunity of watching the match free of any charge” Elder Bassey said.

It will be recalled that Nigeria, through Akwa Ibom State was saddled with the responsibility of hosting the CAF Confederation Cup Final between Orlando Pirates of South Africa and RS Berkane of Morocco on Friday, May 20 2022 in Uyo.

 

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