Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
President of All Stars Football Club of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Lawal Waheed, has decried the dearth of good football clubs in the state, describing the situation as “frustrating”.
He equally said appointment of ‘non professionals and inexperienced technocrats’ to manage the sports sector in the state had been the bane of development of football in Ogun State.
Lawal said this, at the weekend, while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the finals of the U-13, U-15 and U-18 Aguragbaja’s Cup, held at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta.
According to him, it is disheartening that a state, which boasted of over 35 clubs in the 1980s and produced national team players such as Segun Odegbami, Toyin Ayinla, late Muda Lawal, Taju Disu and a host of others, could not conveniently parade at least two clubs playing in the Nigerian league.
He, however, accused the state’s Football Association of killing grassroots football by being insensitive to the existence of the local football clubs in the state.
He also noted that state government’s deliberate neglect of the sector has increased unemployment rate in the state, stressing “if government had invested in the sports sector, the state economy would have significantly improved”.
“Football is comatose in Ogun State. The enthusiasm of the game is no longer there. This is a state that harboured over 35 clubs in the early 80s and early 90s, cannot boast of five sustainable teams in the state. You can see the devastating state of our football”, he added.
Lawal, therefore, posited that “for the revival of our football culture, reduction in unemployment rate and economic boost in the country, the federal government should adopt the military decree of Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), which gave birth to many football clubs in the country”.
Meanwhile, Allen Taylor FC won the U-13 and U-18 finals of the competition, while Pepsi Academy won in the U-15 gold category.