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Lagos Agog For FA Cup Finals At Teslim Balogun Stadium

Jul 7, 2009 - The City of Lagos will be agog Sunday as sports enthusiasts and fans of the famous Enyimba Football Club of Aba as well as those of Sharks of Port Harcourt converge in the City which hosts this year’s Federation (FA) Cup Finals.

The Finals, which will be played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, will see the two aforementioned teams locking horns to compete for the prized Cup which is currently in the custody of Enyimba Club of Aba.

Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele who briefed Government House Correspondents Tuesday on the hosting, said the State Executive Council approved the hosting of the tournament after considering the offer from the National Football Association (NFA) and a counter-offer, adding that Government has taken elaborate measures to make the event a memorable one.

According to the Commissioner, who was accompanied to the briefing by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Mr. Segun Ayobolu, “We are happy to host the FA Cup Finals this year and next year, 2010. It is in continuation of our support for the revival of Sports not only in Lagos State but in the entire nation”.

The Commissioner, who said the State Government accepted to host the event on the condition that the State will also host the event next year, added that the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has taken steps to ensure that glamour is brought into the tournament adding that the State Government has also invested heavily in infrastructural renewal both in Sports and other areas of the City.

“It is important that we use these infrastructures for the first time”, the Commissioner said disclosing that the Government will be test-running the infrastructure at the Teslim Balogun Stadium from August 4 to 9 this year with the International Youth football Cup Competition between the Under-17 Valencia FC of Spain, their counterparts from Benin Republic and South Africa and Team Lagos which, according to him is being raised from the Under-17 elements of the Principal’s Cup of last year.

Prince Adeniji-Adele disclosed that as a further step to ensure the success hosting of the tournament, Governor Fashola approved an additional N6 million to cover media and publicity, entertainment, logistics, security and ticketing.

Side attraction lined up to bring glamour into the competition, the Commissioner said, include a raffle draw which will be drawn with the ticket stubs of those who arrive the Stadium early enough to be scripted, adding that some Local Government Chairmen in the State have fully given their support to the hosting and have pledged readiness to mobilize their people in other to have a full house.

“Lagos will continue to show that it is capable of hosting this kind of event as we prepare for the count-down to the hosting of the Under-17 World Cup later this year, the Commissioner said.

On why the State does not have a team of its own, Prince Adeniji-Adele said, “It is a matter of principles. We can buy a premier team and develop it. But it is not the intention of the State Government to own a team. It has been a matter for debate whether or not to own a team. Our intention is to develop all teams. Our policy is to encourage all teams to develop into professional clubs and we believe the best way to do this is by providing infrastructure”.

“In addition to the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Adeniji Stadium is being completed now and before the end of the year, two more stadia will be completed – one in Badagry and the other the Maranatha Stadium in Ajegunle”, the Commissioner said adding that the Government will, by the grace of God, take on the construction of more stadia next year.

He said the Government has deliberate policies in place aimed at encouraging individuals to own their own football teams adding that if an individual wants to own a team, the State government will give such as person support.

On the issue of destitutes in the State, the Commissioner, who debunked the insinuation that they had returned to the streets after the Government removed them to rehabilitation centres, said although destitution cannot be completely eradicated on the streets of Lagos, his ministry is making every effort to keep them away fro the streets.

He, however advised that people should desist from giving them alms as a way to discouraging, advising that anyone eager to give alms to the poor shoul channel it through the various churches or charity organizations. He said some of the supposed destitute are healthy and able bodied men and women who hide under the guise of destitution to commit atrocities.

Noting that most of the destitute have left the highways and invaded the hinder-lands of the State, the Commissioner called for the cooperation of Lagosians to identify where ever they are found in order to rescue them. The rescue line to call is

In his remarks, the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr. Segun Ayobolu noted that under the administration of Governor Fashola a lot of initiatives have been taken in Sports development such as the MTN Street Soccer Competition, the introduction of the Beach Soccer Tournament, the extension of the Oba Cup to the five Divisions of the State, the extension of the Principals’ Cup to include female teams and the setting up of a Foundation to raise funds to revive athletics among other initiatives.

He urged the media to partner with the State Government to maske the event a memorable one by giving it wide publicity just as they gave the Eyo Festival which was held to honour late Otunba TOS Benson.

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