FIFA World Cup is an international football competition which is contested by senior men’s national teams of the members of the Federation International Football Association (FIFA). FIFA had its first tournament in 1930 and since then, the championship has been awarded to hold in different countries every four years except in 1942 and 1946 due to the world war. The World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world.
The African Cup of Nations popularly known as AFCON is also one of the most popular competitions in Africa. It is the main international football competition in Africa. The competition is administered by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and was first held in 1957 in Khartoum, Sudan, created in 1956 when it was first proposed during the third FIFA congress in Lisbon.
Now, there is a soccer event which is not as vibrant as AFCON and FIFA but is making impact in the football world. It is an indoor soccer which is now popularly known as Minifootball. The term Minifootball was coined in Europe and was accepted by World Minifootball Federation as a standard international name to promote indoor soccer. Minifootball is a six-a-side game derived from the association football, adapted to play in a walled indoor arena.
The World Minifootball Federation is the governing body of indoor soccer at the international level. Indoor soccer is played throughout the universe. The international governing body, World Minifootball Federation based in Switzerland, exists to promote, supervise and direct Minifootball in the world, to contribute to the positive development of the society. There are also regional federations which govern the sport, including; African Minifootball Federation (AMF), Asian Minifootball Confederation (AMC), Confederacion Panamericana de Minifutbol (CPM), European Minifootball Federation (EMF), Oceania Minifootball Federation (OMF).
The African Minifootball Cup (AMC) is an indoor continental mini competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of African Minifootball Federation. The administrative unit for Minifootball in Africa, African Minifootball Confederation is one of the six continental confederations of the World Minifootball Federations governing bodies. The administrative unit came into existence around December 2016 in Tunis, Tunisia. The African Minifootball Federation, organized an assembly in December 2016 which led to the creation of the body. The assembly was attended by some African countries including Libya, Nigeria, South Africa and Somalia. Following the success of the assembly, Tunisia was chosen as the capital seat of the new African Federation.
African Minifootball Cup held its first tournament in Libya around May 2018. The 2018 competition of the African Minifootball Cup was proposed as a qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Minifootball Cup competition for the best four teams. Ivory Coast happened to emerge as the champion of 2018 African Minifootball tournament following its victory over Senegal on penalties kick off 3-1 after a 3-3 draw. Ivory Coast, Libya, Senegal and Tunisia were chosen as the qualifying teams for the 2019 World Minifootball Cup.
It has always been turn by turn and an adage says “the young shall grow”. It is now the turn of the capital of Oyo State, Nigeria, Ibadan city to prove its maturity as it is set to host the continental football competition, African Minifootball Cup 2021.
The 2021 edition of the African Minifootball Cup is the second edition of the tournament. It was formerly scheduled to hold in 2020 but was unable to hold due to the pandemic. The second edition is about to be hosted in Nigeria, Ibadan City specifically. The competition is to be contested by 16 teams. Teams like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa and Tunisia are making their second appearances in the competition while teams like Morocco, Djibouti, Benin, Burkina, Egypt, Algeria, Zambia and Gabon are making their debut. The event had been scheduled to hold at Ilaji International Minifootball Stadium in between 8th to 17th of July, 2021.
The readiness of the host’s City, Ibadan, was made known by the Oyo State deputy Governor, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan. He made it known at an assembly held in preparation for the competition which was attended by the representatives of the contesting countries that there will be an accommodating atmosphere. He also made the readiness of the present administration known in organizing such a competition which the administration viewed as a boost to sports tourism to the state. The deputy Governor also appreciated the African Minifootball Federation and the Nigeria Organization in charge of sports for approving the competition’s location in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, Nigeria.
Achref Ben Salha, a Tunisian who was made the president of the African Minifootball Federation in December 2016 till date and also serves as the vice president of the World Minifootball Federation, routed all the way around Ilaji facilities ahead of the competition. He extolled the facilities at the Ilaji Sports and Resorts in Ibadan. He made it clear that the facilities are in the same enclosure on the same piece of land, which will reduce the stress of the players.
The National President, Nigeria Minifootball Association, Hon. Oluyemi Adewale Taiwo announced that works are ongoing to make sure that the hosting is a successful one. He made the preparation of the State Government known on the issue of security to ensure a hitch-free competition.
The National Head Coach, Babatunde Odubola who led the Nigerian Minifootball National Team to the first edition of the African Minifootball Cup in Libya in 2018 where Nigeria finished fifth said: “Nigeria’s Minifootball men’s national team has already resumed training with some players. The team has concluded some training sessions. The players are coming back into the camp anytime soon. We are ready to tackle the teams in our group: Senegal, Morocco and Djibouti”.
The CEO of Ilaji Hotels and Resorts which is located at Akanran, Ibadan, Engr. Dotun Sanusi spoke through the resort’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Adesina Araoye that he assured the confederation that Ilaji Hotels and Resorts is the only place in Nigeria with such facilities suitable for the competition.