Football and tourism are some of the strong forte of Lagos State. At a time, football was synonymous with life in Lagos and you can hardly find a family without a footballer. Even as football clubs literally dotted every part of the state. Football was life in Lagos state.
We can recollect the good old days of football in Lagos, when we had so many teams competing for honours in the four divisions of Lagos State Amateur Football Association (LAFA). So much have happened in the administration and development of the game in the state in the last 16 years.
Painfully, the last 12 years of football in the state, has witnessed nothing but vainglorious pursuits, greed, egoccentricism, victimisation, corruption and unmitigated nepotism that has negated the growth and development of the game in the state.
Let’s fast forward to the present day situation of football in Lagos state. Whilst other states in Nigeria somewhat looked up to the state as a leader in football development, the truth, however, is that everything about the growth of football in Lagos state, are asthetic and cosmetic.
It has also been gathered that the bane of football development in Nigeria, is the selfish and inordinate ambitions of some football administrators in the states football associations to remain perpetually in power and to the detriment of the game in their various states.
Interestingly, it’s time for elections into the boards of the states football associations. And the administrators, have reportedly gone into the beast mode. It’s nobody, but me.
However, ahead of the forthcoming elections into the various boards of the states FA, the genuine stakeholders in various states, are beginning to gear up for the landmines strategically placed by the incumbent administrators, to curtail and derail their ambitions, and of course, maintaining status quo.
The scenario in Lagos state is unique and peculiar because of its enviable football status. Painfully, the Lagos State Football Association is tethering on the edges of totally destroying football in the state.
It has been discovered that the outgoing board of Lagos FA led by Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, who recently resigned from his position as FA Chairmen, and with few weeks to the elections of a new board, has placed some militating encumbrances, before their supposed antagonists.
And one of the landmines that is bound to ricochet negatively, is the nefarious idea to deny some stakeholders the opportunity to express and exercise their rights in deciding who runs football in Lagos.
Imagine the ill-advised decision of the Lagos FA to activate and bring to bear, the controversial FIFA Integrity Clause.The state FA, has intentionally enthrished the clause in its statutes to disenfranchised eligible candidates like Prince Anthony Adeyinka Adeboye, who is the proprietor of Smart City FC, as well as, Keye Onadeko, the General Manager of Ikorodu City FC, and even, Yemisi Cole, who is currently, a serving board member. And we begin to wonder why the likes of current CAF President Patrice Motsepe, who is the owner of Memelodi Sundowns wasn’t disenfranchised by CAF.
The outgoing board has reportedly cajoled delegates to write a letter requesting for that the FIFA Integrity Clause be included in the LSFA statutes citing a directive from NFF since 2017. Perhaps, the outgoing leadership of the LSFA, has intentionally refused to remember that Chief Anyansi Agwu, who is the Chairman of Enyimba FC, is the current 1st VP of NFF.
Another combustive issue that might blow the outgoing board and potentially truncate the planned new LSFA board elections is the wanton and unnecessary decision of outgoing board to refuse to recognise and acknowledge the Lagos state players union, and of course, disenfranchising the players from participation and eventual membership of the new LSFA board.
This writer asks, who owns football? Can FIFA, CAF, NFF and yes, state FAs operate or organise football, without footballers?
Watch this space as the outgoing LSFA board intends to shoot itself in the foot.
Ishola Owolabi wrote this piece from Lagos Nigeria