The Lagos Marine Team known for its relentless strikes and success has called for sponsorship to help the team meet up its next African competition in 2018 after its last victory RO Côte De Voire.
It made this plea at its end of the year match at the Campus Stadium, Lagos Island, organised to honour one of its star players, Patrick Osinibi who is leaving the country.
The Head Coach, Dominik Mueller, said if the Dangotes and the Adenugas of Nigeria could step into this game in terms of sponsorship, then the NFL would be willing to expand.
“If you look at the U.S.-born Nigerian players are making it in the NFL. Universities are developing youth talents to later become the teams. I can expect same thing from the Dangotes and the Adenugas to do same thing and bring the NFA down to Lagos. That is my vision, the money is there, the infrastructure is there. The NFL will be willing to expand,” he said.
Speaking to journalists on the pitch, Mueller, added that the inter sports game among team members of Lagos Marine was simply to show fairness and sportsmanship in such a way that both the audience and the players would benefit.
He said: “This is like an end of the year party for our brother who is leaving. We are going to do anything for him with equipment support to help him start something there. Those people as you know are tough in soccer.”
According the German coach, the challenges have been interesting. “The challenges are how to make the ball popular in Lagos then Nigeria in a culture that is mainly looking at premier league. Then to find the right people that are dedicated. Some go as long as four hours for practising every Saturday. It is not easy.
“Indeed, since its establishment in November 2014, Lagos Marine is really taking shape. The team played against Ivory Coast Team this year (2017) and claimed victory back to the country. It is not easy. But we are preparing for more international competition.”
On their target for 2018, Mueller assured Nigerians that Lagos Marine would go to the second leg in Côte De Voire which would require some sponsorship. “This will require some sponsorship on their side and on our side to help them come here and set up and negotiate. There may be another international game depending on who can make it here.”
Reacting to the farewell match in his honour, Patrick Osinibi, lauded the coaches and the team for their support and unity since he became a member in 2014. “This match is a testimonial game for me; it is to appreciate the work I’ve done. I just got a job in Cameroon.”
Although Osinibi is leaving, his one desire for the game is that the American football grows and becomes as popular as basketball in Nigeria. “We have so many Nigerian kids from good families that play in school. We want people from all backgrounds to be part of it, too. So, we really need government at all levels to encourage this soccer.”