By Lucky Isibor
Edo state government is partnering sports media giant, SuperSports of South Africa to revive football in the state.
This was disclosed Saturday, by the chairman of Edo State Football Association (EFA), Mr. Frank Ilaboya at the SuperSports “Let’s Play” football clinic for children ages between eight and thirteen held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Making his remarks at the event where veteran Super Eagles players including Austine Eguavoen, Ndubuisi Okosiemen and others were on hand to couch the kids, both boys and girls, the rudiments of soccer, Ilaboya said the essence of “Let’s Play” was to revive and bring back the vibes of football in Edo state.
The FA Chairman recalled with nostalgia the exploits of Edo state in football and contribution of players to the national team in the years past, vowing that the FA is poised to revive it.
According to him” We want to bring back the vibes to Edo state football and it has to be total. That is why we are now going to the grassroot because the future lies in the grassroot.
“I remember in 1985 when we went to the World Cup in China, it was Edo that produced the largest number of players. That tells you that Edo state is the hub and we want to return the state to that hub by ensuring that football is revived.”
While thanking the state government for opening the space for football and other sports in the state, Ilaboya informed that the state government is hosting the Africa Women under 20 World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Tanzania at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City next Saturday, 16th September and the Nigeria women football league super four also in Benin coming up in October, saying the FA has keyed into the government’s plan to revive sports.
“The state government is doing so well by opening the space for football, opening the space for sports. We have keyed into that road map to ensure the vibes are back. Edo state FA is here to revive football,” he said.
In his remarks, chairman on the occasion, Chief Fatai Aliu who is the chairman and proprietor of Dragon Football Club of Ekpoma assured of his continued support for football as it is a source of employment for the youths.
He said this is the beginning of other good things to come as he is poised to build a world class football club that will be comparable to Arsenal and Chelsea and advised Nigerian businessmen to groom their own home grown football club rather than looking for ready made clubs to buy outside the country.
“The promotion of Ekpoma Dragons has ignited one thing in me, that God wants to use me and my Organizations to build footballers in Edo state and beyond.
“We want to see that we build the Arsenals, the Chelseas’ and other super clubs in Edo state”.
Also speaking, representative of SuperSports, Mojishola Ojo said the essence of “Let’s Play” is to invest in the future of football assuring that it will be a continuous exercise.
High point of the event was the presentation of SuperSports branded football and T-shirts to the participants.