A new debutant of the Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL) club side, Sporting Lagos’ stadium is 80 percent near completion, The ICIR learnt.
Sporting Lagos gained promotion from the second-tier league, Nigeria National League (NNL) to the top-flights league (NPFL) after they garnered the maximum points from the (NNL) Super 8 playoff held in Asaba.
In an interview (Read it here) with the The ICIR, the club’s Chairman, Godwin Enakhena expressed the club’s readiness ahead of the 2023/2024 Nigeria’s top-flight league season, disclosing the club has begun construction of their own stadium inside Landmark in Victoria Island.
“We are building our stadium inside Landmark in Victoria Island,” he said.
He added, “It is 85 per cent complete, so it means we will not have to beg anybody for a stadium.”
The chairman absolved Sporting Lagos promotion to the top-flight league as sheer luck, separating the operations of the club from previous clubs who have gained promotion into the top-flight league in Lagos.
He added that the club was established for youth reposition coupled with a corporate business model, saying the club prioritised the value it offers to football fans.
“The previous clubs in Lagos were not set for business. Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) FC was not set up for business. Julius Berger was just CSR; things like that do not last, but this is a business model from the get-go.
“Football is big business, and it is about competition. You must give something to the fans. Nigerians want to watch football. You have to give them a reason to come to the stadium, a value for money and their time,” he said.
During the stint of the MFM FC in the top-flight league from 2016 to 2021, they played all their home matches at the Agege Township stadium.
But, since 2021, stadia like Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Agege Township Stadium and TTC Stadium in Ifako Ijaye have been sealed for rehabilitation.
Due to the rehabilitation of the major stadia in Lagos, some clubs in the second and third-tier leagues have been left to manage the major available ones which are Onikan stadium and Legacy pitch which is inside the National Stadium in Surulere in Lagos.
The Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku, told The ICIR that five stadia are under construction and eight new ones will be completed in the first quarter of 2024.
“We have 13 facilities. We are rehabilitating all the ones that have been dilapidated, and we are building eight brand-new ones. Five are ready on their way, and we believe that at the end of the first quarter of next year, the other few will have started.
“So, by the time we finish the entire project, we will have 21 facilities. They are multifaceted, and they spread across Lagos from Ifako Ijaiye to Epe to Ikorodu.
“The whole idea is to ensure that facilities are available to Lagosian and talents can have a way and platform to express themselves,” he said.