The Oyo State Government has commenced support mobilization ahead of the African Cup of Nations(AFCON) Qualifier match between the U23 National Team and Tanzania on Saturday in Ibadan.
Mr. Seun Fakorede, the State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, disclosed this during a news conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press center on Wednesday in Ibadan.
The country’s U23 National Team and Tanzania would hold on Saturday at Lekan Salami Sports Complex in Ibadan.
The team had drawn 1-1 during the first leg of the match held in Dar es Salam, the capital of Tanzania.
The Lekan Salami Sports Complex was recently renovated and upgraded to international standards by the Gov. Seyi Makinde administration.
Fakorede said that the media engagement was very important due to the Saturday international match, which never happened in the last 30 years
The commissioner called on all football-loving citizens to come out en mass to witness the epoch-making event and give the U23 Olympic team overwhelming support to victory.
“We, therefore call on all football-loving citizens to come en mass to witness the epoch-making event and give our darling U23 Olympic team overwhelming and arousing support to victory,” he said.
Fakorede said that part of the government effort was to give the iconic Lekan Salami Sports Complex a beautiful facelift after 44 years of neglect and abandonment by preceding administrations.
He said that the newly renovated stadium would also open up new opportunities for the people to generate money and enhance value.
“We are here this afternoon to witness yet another milestone in the annals of the Gov. Seyi Makinde-led administration in the State.
“This administration thus far has achieved the unprecedented remodeling of the stadium to an enviable World Class International standard,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state would on Saturday witness another record-breaking achievement in this administration in the hosting of the U23 AFCON qualifying match.
He said that such was happening again after almost 30 years of a dearth of international engagements on the soil of Lekan Salami Sports Complex.
Fakorede charged the people to cooperate with the officials, urging them to demonstrate patriotism and understanding before, during, and after the match.
He said such would enable the state to host more international competitions, soliciting
more cooperation and objectivity from journalists in the state.
The commissioner said that the state would also host the second leg of the U23 team against Costa Rica in November, saying the first leg will hold in the US.
Fakorede said that adequate security had been put in place for a rancor-free match, while accreditation would be handled by the FA in conjunction with Nigeria Football Federation(NFF).
Oba James Odeniran, the State Football Association(FA) Chairman, appreciated the governor for giving them a stadium that could compare with any across the world.
Odeniran also commended the commissioner for creating enabling environment for the CAF delegation which accredited the stadium for international matches.
“We are looking beyond the hosting of this first international match. Our efforts and performance would help sustain further patronage of this stadium.
“The essence of the news conference is to solicit the support of our media houses and the public for the victory of our darling U23 National team,” he said.
Also, Mr. Ademola Babalola, the State NUJ Chairman, commended the governor for giving the stadium a facelift which had started attracting international matches to the state.
Babalola, who highlighted the various opportunities and benefits inherent in the facelift, assured them of maximum support from journalists in the state.