New Soccer Initiative, Oba’s Football Cup Commences October Next Year – DG Lagos Sports Commission

Kunle Adelabu

-Igbogbo, other stadiums ready January

The Director – General (DG), Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Prince Oluwatoyin Gafaar (Bolowotan), has revealed plans to commence a new football tournament in 2024, across the state.

The tournament, slated for October next year, will start in Ikorodu, and be named after the Ayangbure of Ikorodu.

The DG Sports revealed this while speaking with football stakeholders in Ikorodu, during the opening matches of the 15th edition of the Gafaar Bolowotan Gold Cup, at the Police Barracks Playing Ground, on Sunday.

Bolowotan, who was presented with an award of recognition by the Association of Football Club Owners (AFCO), Ikorodu branch, during the match, also revealed that Igbogbo and other four stadiums under construction across the state, will be ready by January 2024.

“We used to have football club owners in Ikorodu, but it collapsed due to misappropriation of funds and that is what the new body will have to work serious on if we are not to repeat the same thing”, Bolowotan said.

“I am still a member of the association and I will continue to be a member. I will soon have a new female football team in Ikorodu”, he revealed.

Mr Oluwasegun Ajiroba, Chairman, Association of Football Club Owners, Ikorodu branch (3rd left) with other executives of the association presenting Prince Toyin Gafaar, DG, Lagos State Sports Commission with a Recognition Award during the opening match of the 15th Gafaar Bolowotan Memorial Gold Cup the Police Barracks Playing Ground, Ikorodu on Sunday. With them, Prince Jimoh Ogunmuyiwa, retired Referee (2nd right), Alhaji Luqman Shonibare l, Chairman, Ikorodu IDFA (right) and former IDFA Secretary (left).

“It is also important that members pay affiliation fees which is the commitment. Without financial commitment, members might not be that committed. Thank you for recognizing me as one of you”.

Charging the club owners, the Lagos Sports DG said that they should be prepared to contribute to the development of the game by recognizing efforts of those that have been managing clubs in Ikorodu before now, and revealed that they would be expected to be committed to a proposed football tournament coming up in 2024.

“Part of what we, as club owners, are supposed to be doing is to recognise those that have contributed to the development of football by financing or owing a club, most of whom are still living, except Big Debo who is also deserving of our recognition”, DG Bolowotan said.

“There is also an assignment that we will be executing every October, which will be called Oba’s Cup, and the club owners’ association will have to contribute towards it.

“We are going to start in Ikorodu next year, and it will be in the name of our Oba”, he added.

Speaking on the Igbogbo and other four stadiums across the state, Bolowotan said that they will be ready by Janaury.

“By January, we are going to complete the Igbogbo stadium and others across the state”, he said.

“The Oba’s cup has target and it is through it that we can bring the Commissioners and who is who in sports in Lagos to watch the match since we now have a stadium.

“The stadium is meant for every part of Ikorodu division to make use of and it is going to be the only facility around this area with track which is deliberate. The stadium will have basketball court and other facilities.

“The plan is to have all the five stadiums – Igbogbo, Agege, Ifako Ijaiye, Teslim Balogun in Surulere and Gbagada, commissioned by February.

“The deadline for the completion of the Igbogbo and Agege is January 7th, and that of Ifako is January 13th and by January 20th, all the stadiums are expected to be completed and delivered”, he revealed.

The DG Sports Commission also stated that there would be barricade to prevent unsanctioned access into the pitch.

“We envisaged that people might want to be making use of the track for social engagements, that is why the stadium is going to have wire mesh to barricade and prevent people and vehicles from getting into the track”, he said.

“We are going to have a hall for social event and that is why we leave enough space by the entrance once you enter the Igbogbo stadium”

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Association of Football Club Owners (AFCO), Ikorodu branch, Mr Oluwasegun Ajiroba, popularly called, ‘Ebony’, speaking with THE IMPACT, said that the DG Sports was honoured because of his contributions towards the development of the game in Ikorodu.

“We started the association few months back and we deemed it fit to recognise all those that have spent so much in managing and maintaining clubs over the years, both the ones that are still existing and others that are not”, he said.

“We are looking out for them for recognition. This is to let them know that they are part of us, and that they deserved to be recognized”.

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