Fashola Charges Nigerian Football Administrators To Grow It Into A Great Economy
…As he receives Barclays Premier League trophy
Aug 23, 2011 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Wednesday received the Barclays Premier League trophy from the management of Multichoice Limited, charging that with the followership that football has in Nigeria, all concerned stakeholders must get involved to grow it into a big economy that it certainly can be.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the Conference Room of the Lagos House, Ikeja during the presentation of the trophy which is on a journey round some selected countries added that there are quite a number of Nigerian players who see Europe as their final destination, but he would want them to begin to see the Nigerian League, the Nigerian club side as their final destination where they can tell rag to riches story.
"I expect that we will be receiving Multichoice hand of partnership as we go forward to provide a life away from violence, into a life of riches and fame using talent. We have started by first trying to mix educational curriculum of young talented footballers with sporting curriculum".
"We want to ensure that those who participate in the football junior league are actually students in schools in Lagos. And we think that if we can create this partnership between schools and football, we might move on to something very big", the Governor reiterated.
Governor Fashola recalled that as a student, some of his school mates used to play for very big Clubs like Leventis United, Mandilas, Wema Bank, LSDPC, Union Bank and so on, adding that after school, they earned extra income to support the home and the family, stressing that at this period of youth unemployment and youth restiveness, that represents one of the things that can be done to create opportunities.
He added that in the country and in particular Lagos State, the authorities are challenged by the success of the British Premier league which has metamorphosized from a competition with little advertising into a really global economy, providing livelihoods across continents.
"One of the things I will commend to everyone here is the philosophy of the current champions of the English Premier League. I have often asked myself how does the team that has won so much still find it in itself to want to win again. It is a formula for success".
"While some say they are supporters of Manchester United, but I think we will benefit more if we become apostles of the winning philosophy of Manchester United to create new heights, new challenges for ourselves and never be satisfied with any success", he added.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of Multichoice, Mr Joseph Hundah said the company is not only committed to soccer but local soccer in particular as it has spent over N10Billion in promoting local football.
He added that the money has not only been spent in showcasing local football on television but in developing the administrators as well as buying equipments and setting up studios for showcasing local soccer as well as giving the Nigerian feel to the English Premier league.
He added that the Barclays Premier league trophy which just arrived from the United Kingdom was in Ghana yesterday while it is in Lagos Tuesday and would journey to Nairobi, Kenya afterwards, adding that since the trophy came to Nigeria, it is only appropriate that it came to Lagos.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Youth Sports and Social Development, Mr Enitan Oshodi who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Sports, Mr Adepoju Delano- Conde said the presentation is in recognition of the strong fan base of the Premiership among the 18million inhabitants of Lagos State.
He added the Multichoice has also contributed to the development of other sports in Nigeria such as Basketball and the 'Let's Play Initiative' which is aimed at promoting the culture of playing for children.
"We therefore expect more levels of collaboration between Lagos State Government and Multichoice in future endeavours particularly in the sustainable development of sports programmes and infrastructures",he said.
The Chief Executive of Multi-Choice later presented the trophy to the Governor who had a photo session along with many of the guests at the ceremony which also had senior management staffers of Multi-Choice Nigeria, many ex- international footballers like Daniel Amokachi and Victor Ikpeba and senior government functionaries in attendance.