FIFA vice president Jack Warner choked in disappointment when he and other visiting delegates walked into the main bowl of the National Stadium Surulere in Lagos as they rounded off their inspection tour of facilities for the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, local media reported Thursday.
Warner in 1999 praised Nigerians for creating the eight wonders of the world, because of the speedy construction of the stadium designated for Under-20 World Cup that year.
But the Carribean-born soccer technocrat was immediately miffed when he was welcomed by decaying facilities at the National Stadium. He wondered aloud if it was the same stadium that he generously gave pass marks nine years ago.
Toilet facilities, dressing rooms, media tribune and the playing pitch are in their worst conditions, however, Nigeria Football Association chairman, Sanni Lulu assured the delegates that, there was no cause for alarm as repairs will be carried out in no time.
The FIFA delegates have been around the country visiting the designated venues for the 2009 Under-17 World Cup, which was unanimously awarded to Nigeria by CAF as compensation for missing out in hosting rights bid for the 2010 Nations Cup won by Angola.
The team visited Kano, Abuja, Calabar, Warri, Ijebu Ode, Lagos and Port Harcourt, however, gave thumbs up to the Thunder Balogun Stadium, opposite the National Stadium, Surulere. They were pleased with the facilities at the Lagos State Stadium.
(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2008)