The Lagos State Government has appointed new Chairpersons to head 43 different Sports Associations in the state.
With the emergence of three new associations, Monopoly, (added to Scrabble to form the Lagos State Scrabble and Monopoly Association), Lagos State Netball Association, Lagos State E-sports Association and the Cheerleading Association, the total number of governing bodies for sports in the state rose to 43.
The event was held inside the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium in the Surulere axis of the state.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku, emphasized that the new Sports Association board members were painstakingly selected to refocus and change the face of sports in Lagos State.
“We are glad to welcome you all and hope to have a better relationship,” he said.
Unlike previously held notion that funding of the sector rests at the door steps of the state government, Mr. Aiyepeku insisted that that perception about government being the sole financier of sporting events had to change.
He therefore urged the new Sports Associations to work independently of government to source private sector financing and sponsorships to enable them meet the target of holding/ organising at least two sporting events each per quarter.
He also charged all Association Chairmen to come up with a detailed plan for each Association in order to drive the Commission better. In total, 277 members were inaugurated as board members of the various associations.
Some of the newly appointed chairmen expressed their desires to effect a new direction for their various sports associations in the state.
Chairman of the Lagos State Boxing Association, Jenkins Alumona, admitted that Lagos has always been the hub for boxing in the country with so many clubs scattered all over the state.
“We are already working towards a proper organization and formalization of the relationship between the clubs and the association and finding ways of harnessing the benefits that come from the states huge number of amateur boxers.
Mr. Alumona who is in a familiar turf as the Chief executive of Flykite Promotions, organisers of perhaps, the most successful boxing competition in the country today, the GOtv Boxing Night series, pledged to go down to the grassroots to fish for talents.
“We know that we have a good number of boxers at the grassroots level training everyday and we just need to put together a system that enables us to recognize them and harness this huge opportunity. This is work in progress,” he noted.
“Two years ago, I got the Chairman of Gotv Boxing Night, Odofin Adewunmi Ogunsanya, SAN to sponsor an inter club boxing tournament in Lagos state. It confirmed to us, once again, just how many young boxers are available to Lagos. Our hope is that we can organize many more of such competitions and some more grassroots based competitions for boxers from Ikorodu to Badagry to Isale Eko, to Ajah and everywhere else. This is Lagos. The best of everything is here and that is why we are best,” Alumona stressed with pride.
He insisted that Lagos has always produced champions “and we are not about to stop now. We want to extend our dominance and we will.”
The new LSBA Boss further pledged to put more life into the monthly Boxing Hall of Fame led by the doyen of boxing in the state, Mr. Wale Edun, whose activities have been slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The monthly boxing show still exists. It’s a partnership between the Lagos Boxing Hall of fame led by the doyen of boxing of Boxing in Lagos state, Mr. Wale Edun and the Boxing Association. The slow down you noticed is because of Covid-19. But this will pass and the shows will return with even more rigor and additional flavor.”
Now that the nomenclature has been changed from a purely amateur boxing, is the new chairman promising more robust events like the GOtv boxing?
“Big time boxing are products of sponsorships. And big-time sponsorships follow success in the areas of followership, eyeballs and footfall. This is what we are working on at the moment.
“As we do this, we hope for growth in the economy which is a sine qua non for the required support which drives the kind of sports participation you have referred to.
“What GOtv has done for professional boxing is what is required for boxing in Lagos state. GOtv’s commitment is uncommon. It’s a brand that has put its money where it’s heart is. It’s commitment is not purely attached to business benefits. But that is not necessarily the only way. We need to create an environment that ensures that the relationship is symbiotic.”Follow us on social media