Ambode to Give Ajegunle’s Maracana Stadium Status


Keno Edhowo

The popular Maracana football ground in Ajegunle where hundreds of top Nigerian footballers began their careers is about to get a facelift.

The likes of Odion Ighalo, Samson Siasia, Obafemi Martins, Taribo West and several others played at the famous football ground in Ajegunle part of Lagos.

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has promised that early next year, Maracana and three others at at Igbogbo, Epe and Badagry have been listed to be upgraded as part of his drive to make sporting infrastructures available for citizens in the state to freely give their careers wings.

Newly appointed Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Gbolahan Adewunmi Ogunsanya, gave this hint when the executive committee of the Lagos State Sports Writers Sssociation (SWAN) paid a courtesy call on him at the weekend.

He said that the plan is a product of a detailed study of the state sports environment.
“As part of the plan, the government would, by next year construct standard stadiums in five districts of the state including the Maracana Stadium in Ajegunle and others at Igbogbo, Epe and Badagry.

While calling for the support of the citizenry and partnership of the organised private sector towards achieving a more robust sport environment in Lagos, Mr. Ogunsanya expressed optimism that, in pursuit of the agenda, the massive performance being recorded by the state in various other sectors like roads, lighting, transportation, tourism and business infrastructure will also be brought to bear in sports.

“The governor is very much aware of the importance of sports in society and is very serious about sports development. He has a clear vision with documented roadmap to direct the process.

“The plan also includes providing sports parks and recreational facilities in various neighbourhoods to revive grassroots, community and schools sports. This includes the construction of mini sports centres, indoor gyms or sports triangles, where space permits, in about 300 secondary schools across the state as legacy projects. This is expected to energise schools and after-schools sports as well as serve the communities.”

“The issue of availability of land tends to constrain the provision of sports centres in various communities but we will continue to develop ideas. It is important too that the private sector and community leaders join hands with the government for us to collectively pursue and achieve these goals for the benefit of all.”

To support the process, he revealed that Governor Ambode has made moves to revive the Lagos State Sports Trust Fund which had been inoperative for a couple of decades now. The bill for the revival has been submitted to the Lagos State House of Assembly where it has undergone second reading and would be a subject of pubic hearing possibly this September.