Lagos Baits Eagles with Grass Pitch again

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  • Planning to resurface Teslim Stadium

Duro Ikhazuagbe

In its determination to reclaim its position as the Mecca of sports in the country, the Lagos State Sports Commission is planning to resurface the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos from artificial to grass turf in line with the wishes of senior national team players.

Until the sorry state of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos was the slaughter slab of the senior national football team for all visiting countries, stretching from the Green Eagles days to the early 1990s of the Super Eagles. And then, the rot set in with the total decay of the Sports-city built by the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, in 1972 to host the 1973 All Africa Games.

Many ball fans had heaved sigh of relief when Lagos State built its sports arena directly facing the Sports-city and named it after one of the country’s illustrious footballer, Teslim Balogun (a.k.a Thunder Balogun). But the advent of artificial surface made the state to also join the bandwagon, unmindful of the fact that Lagos falls within the rain belt almost all through the year.

After a game or two on the surface, most Super Eagles players began to feign injury to avoid playing on such turfs as they are considered dangerous.

But speaking at a parley in Lagos at the weekend, Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Adewunmi Ogunsanya, revealed that the state has completed plans of a new pitch for Teslim Stadium, adding that the artificial turf would soon be removed for a new grass pitch.

“We want to attract international matches to Lagos, which in the first place is the home of Nigerian sports.
“To achieve that, we will change the technology to make way for sprinklers and other ancillary facilities that will make the pitch suitable for big games.”

Ogunsanya also revealed that the state will bid for the National Stadium, to bring it back to life.
“We bided for the National Stadium some time ago but our bid was rejected by the then Federal Government. We will bid for it again because that facility has to be put to proper use if it must function as the hub of the country’s sports development,” he said.