By Duro Ikhazuagbe
The home ground of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC), the Lekan Salami Sports Complex in Adamasingba, Ibadan is to be upgraded from its present seating capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 while its facilities will also be given face lift
to world-class standards.
Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde made this promise yesterday at the inauguration of the remodeling of the sports complex in Ibadan.
The project estimated to gulp about N5.6billion is to be funded through the
Alternate Project Funding Approach (APFA) and is expected to be completed in 18 months.
Makinde admitted he was moved to to do something about the facility after attending a 3SC game at the stadium and witnessed first hand the sorry state of its dressing room.
“When the history of this sports complex was being traced just now, they said the construction of the stadium was 44 years ago and that it was inaugurated 32 years ago.
“I came here once to watch a 3SC game and at half time, I went to the changing room to talk to and encourage the players but I could not believe what I saw. Players sat on the bare floor. And I asked myself. Is this where we want to mould world-class athletes?” observed the governor.
It was there and then that Makinde made up his mind to do something about the facility.
“I said no, things can’t continue like this. I felt for both the players and the crew.
“After that episode, I decided to, on my own, visit this place and look at all of the facilities that we have in here. They were all in a state of dilapidation,” recalled the governor.
Makinde said now was the “ right time to make decisions that will cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy.
“We must double our efforts to put infrastructure in place that will support the growth of IGR in the state.
“And this is why we are here today, to flag-off the remodelling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan.”
The governor restated Oyo State’s rich sporting history when the first WBA World Middleweight Boxing title fight in Africa between Dick Tiger Ihetu and Gene Fullmer was held in Oyo State.
“We were able to host that fight and benefit from all the tourism revenue because we had the facilities to do so.
“And so, we are remodelling this sports complex now, so we can reap the benefits in IGR. If there was a call for cities to host a national sporting event today, can Oyo State boast of having the facilities to do so?” he queried.
A representative of Messers Peculiar, the contractor handling the project, Mr. Olarenwaju Adeleke, hinted that the benefit that would be derived from remodelling of the stadium would be unquantifiable, bearing in mind the stadium was planned to be a place for discovery and nursing of talents.
He disclosed that the present capacity of the stadium which was put at 8,000 would be increased by 25 per cent to 10,000 capacity, adding that all existing facilities in the stadium would also be upgraded.
“By the time we are done in 12 months, the stadium will be fully certified for local and international events,” he assured stakeholders in Oyo sport.