From Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji
ABEOKUTA – President, All Stars Football Club of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Alhaji Lawal Adeoye Waheed has decried the dearth of good football in Ogun State, describing it as “devastated”.
Lawal blamed the appointment of politicians to manage the sports sector as bane of development of football in the State.
He pointed out that, for a state that harbours over 35 clubs in the early 90s and produced national team players like Segun Odegbami, Toyin Ayinla, Muda Lawal, Taju Disu and host of others, could not boast of five sustainable clubs in the Nigerian league.
Allstars C Abeokuta remain the first Allstars to have won the prestigious “Federation Cup” in any state of the country having won the 2018 Aiteo cup at Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium early this year.
He accused the State FA for allowing grassroots football die a natural death by being insensitive to the existence of the local football clubs in the state.
Alhaji Lawal made this assertion at the weekend during the finals of the U-13, U-15 and U-18 Aguragbaja’s Cup held at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto in Abeokuta.
According to him, government’s deliberate neglect of the sector has increased unemployment rate in the state, adding that if government had invested in the sports sector, the state economy would have significantly improved.
“Football is in dilapidated condition in Ogun State. The enthusiasm of the game is no longer there. This is a state that harbours over 35 clubs in the early 90s cannot boast of five sustainable teams in the state. You can see the devastating state of our football.
“But the problem is bent on the nature of our appointment into football industry. we always fix those who are not knowledgeable and inexperience into its offices.
“The government’s contribution- by allowing all the Football Clubs to die a natural death, believing that it doesn’t concern her. But today you will see all sought of intervention funds injected into various sphere of economy. We forget that Football industry is part of our economy and it can actually absorb up to 60% of unemployment rate.
“Football was used to resuscitate Malaysia economy in the ‘90s by mandating all blue chip companies to float Football Club and get tax cut.
“This was what the decree of Gen. Yakubu Gowon administration made that caused the creation of so many Football Clubs in the country in the ‘70s till early ‘90s”.
He therefore maintained that, for the survival of football, reduction of unemployment and economy boost in the country, the federal government should adopt the military decree of late Gen. Yakubu Gowon of 1979.
Allen Taylor FC are won the U-13 and U-18 gold medals, while Pepsi Academy won the U-15 gold medals of the 2018 Aguragbaja’s Cup.
Meanwhile, registration for the commencement of the Ogun State Football Association state league would begin on Wednesday, 15th to 27th August, 2018.
According to a press release by Ogun FA media Officer, Sanusi Lateef, registration for the U13 and U-15 male and female categories would kick off on 28th August to 8th September ,2018.
All owners of football academy in the state have therefore been advised to contact the State’s FA secretary for more details and clarification.