The Lagos Street Soccer Championship commenced this Sunday, sparking optimism among stakeholders about revitalising grassroots football development. Numerous stakeholders were present at the inauguration of the Lagos Championship, where Bolaji Yusuf, the chairman of the Lagos Street Soccer Championship, pledged a thrilling display of street football, with a multitude of talented players registered for the tournament.
Yusuf expressed confidence in the potential of the championship, stating, “The talents are here; this Lagos Street Soccer event is poised for a significant transformation, and we anticipate remarkable achievements that will engage our youth. We are counting on exceptional talents emerging from this competition, which serves as the cradle of grassroots football development, often referred to as Futsal.”
“The commencement of the competition marks the beginning of an expected 18-week journey across various locations in the state. Our immediate plan is to nurture these talents, and perhaps, in the future, we may witness the emergence of a Futsal league from this championship,” he added.
Yusuf emphasised the developmental significance of Futsal in the world of football, highlighting the progress made in countries like Brazil and Spain in the realm of Futsal.
He also pointed out that structures were in place to monitor player development and mentioned that the age categories would be expanded to include U-10 from the following year to maximise the potential of young athletes.
“This initiative aims to identify and nurture our talents. Street soccer serves the purpose of diverting our youth from the streets channelling their energy more constructively,” Yusuf emphasized.
Mrs. Abolanle Bada, the co-chairman of Lagos Street Soccer and Mayoress of Ikosi LCDA, praised the championship for its potential to reduce youth involvement in vices. She expressed gratitude to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Lagos State Football Association for making this opportunity available to engage young people positively through sports.
Bada revealed that 20 teams from each local government and LCDA would participate in the competition, underscoring the magnitude of this endeavour.
The Managing Director of the Lagos State Assurance Company (LASACO), Mr. Rasaq Abiodun, conveyed the company’s support for the football initiative due to its transformative potential in Lagos’ football development. He stressed the importance of endorsing projects that aim to benefit the youth and foster their positive engagement.
Engr. David Famuyiwa, Chairman of Agbado Oke Odo LCDA, shared the enthusiasm of the youth in their respective communities and their readiness for the upcoming sports spectacle.
As part of the launch activities, an exhibition match was held, with Gbongboti FC triumphing over Obele Community FC by a score of 2-0.