FIFA President Gianni Infantino has described Nigeria as a country with unquantifiable passion and love for football, and where football is more than a religion.
“I was told that in Nigeria football is passion, but it is a lie because it is more than that. In Nigeria I was told that football is love, but it is a lie it is more than that.
“In Nigeria, I was told that football is a religion, but it is a lie. It is more than that. In Nigeria, football is life,” he said in Lagos on Monday.
Infantino spoke at the maiden edition of the AITEO-NFF Awards, which was organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Speaking also at the event, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, pledged his administration’s continued support to football and sports in general.
“We will continue to give our unrelenting support to football and sports in general, I want to assure the President of FIFA that whenever he is coming back, Lagos will be considered to host a FIFA tournament,’’ he said.
In his address, the Deputy Managing Director of AITEO Group, Francis Peters, said the oil conglomerate was happy to be part of football history in Nigeria in good times.
NFF president Amaju Pinnick, on his part, said the awards night was to celebrate Nigerian legends for their contributions to the development of football in the country.
He also said football administration was a journey and not a destination, adding “therefore, there must be a conscious effort to minimise errors for fear of losing the opportunity.
“In Nigeria, football is a way of life and everybody is a coach. So, we need to be very careful. Football teaches us ethics and how to live a normal life,” Pinnick said.