Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (left) presenting the Nigeria Football Federation Cup to the NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari (right) at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Monday, July 16, 2012.
WorldStage Newsonline-- Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Monday handed over a giant silver trophy he donated to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) for the annual Federation Cup Competition, stating that it represents a small gesture from him to help in re-awakening interest in the tournament from around the country.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the Banquet Hall of Lagos House, Ikeja added that his visit to several stadias in the recent past and the fact that such facilities are never filled to capacity has left him wondering on what must be done to help bring people back to the stadium.
He said as far back as 1992, if any match was going to be played at the National Stadium, one must get there by 10am or else, that spectator would not be guaranteed a seat in the stadium adding that concrete steps must be taken to bring people back to matches and other sporting events.
He also thanked the Nigerian Football Federation for giving Lagos the opportunity to host and also reinforcing the suggestion by the State that the Federation Cup which used to be the Challenge Cup should not leave Lagos again where it started from.
The Governor said the Federation represents a destination and a dream which every player wants to experience adding that even for the English FA Cup, Wembley Stadium irrespective of the part of the country that the player comes from, everyone that his club qualifies for the finals wants to play at Wembley.
He explained that the former Challenge Cup which is now the Federation Cup has a very rich history because it has produced many great players like Muyiwa Oshode, Haruna Ilerika, Yakubu Mambo and Kenneth Olayombo, adding that legends have been made out of the competition that have propelled Nigeria at the international stage.
He informed that the State Government is also building up infrastructure and new sports centres all over the State so as to reawaken interest of the people in watching football, adding that one of such stadiums is hosting a group preliminary of this year’s Federation Cup from today.
The Governor said beyond infrastructure there is a lot the people can do in developing sports because a very huge economy exists there, urging everyone to bear in mind that as they develop agriculture and power, they also wake up sports.
The President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Aminu Maigari in his address thanked Governor Fashola for his interest in sports, adding that the Federation Cup will indeed not leave Lagos.
He added that the Governor has done a lot to improve sports in the country, stating that on a number of occasions he has hosted and supported many of the national teams including the FUTSAL team and the Beach soccer teams.
Alhaji Maigari also gave a commitment that the 2012 Federation Cup which is billed to be hosted by Lagos will be the most colourful cup final ever.
Speaking earlier, the State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr Enitan Oshodi said the handover of the new Federation Cup by Governor Fashola underscores his support for the growth of Nigeria’s football.
He said this year’s competition will culminate in the grand finale which is billed to come at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere on August 26, 2012.
The Governor later handed over the new giant silver plated trophy to Alhaji Aminu Maigari.
Prominent among those who witnessed the handover ceremony were the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council, while those on the entourage of the President of NFF include the Vice President Chief Mike Umeh, the Chairman of the Technical Committee, Mr Christopher Green, Mr Ayodeji Tinubu, Barrister Musa Ahmadu, the Secretary General as well as the Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, Mr Seyi Akinwunmi and other members.