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Ajeromi Ifelodun canvasses community ownership at sports summit

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Chairman of Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Council, Fatai Adekunle Ayoola, believes sports in Nigeria will thrive better if communities have sports clubs and facilities. Citing his council, which harbours the famous Ajegunle community, Ayoola disclosed that Ajeromi Ifelodun was striving to provide facilities and sports opportunities for the restive youths of the area.

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Speaking at the second edition of the Ajeromi Ifelodun Council Sports Summit at the council’s secretariat in Ajegunle with the theme, ‘Community sports ownership, gateway to curbing youth restiveness,’ Ayoola said the council’s plan is to revamp community ownership of sports in Ajegunle by constructing facilities in schools and streets to create employment and ensure youths in the area channelled their talents to sports.

He explained that improving sports in Ajegunle would help to discover more talents for the country, adding, “If you go to Mushin, what they are known for is printing and printing materials; when you go to computer village at Ikeja, what they are known for is phone accessories and computer gadgets. My vision is for Ajegunle to be known for sports and music because of the stars the area has churned out in the past.

“We will examine the past to bring back what made Ajegunle produce talents for our various national teams.

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“The council will look at the present and see what can be done right to take our rightful place on the pinnacle of world sports. To make this possible, facilities like two five-a-side pitches, table tennis hub, Odion Ighalo 02 Arena, Tolu, two basketball courts and ongoing construction of Maracana Stadium have been put in place to help more youths get engaged in sports across the council and also make the community sports ownership possible.”

Also speaking at the event, Austin Popo, a former Nigerian international, said community ownership of football clubs would enable sports-loving individuals from different age grades to support their teams financially to attain set goals and dissuade state governments from owning football clubs.

Popo enjoined traditional rulers to champion community sports ownership at the grassroots level.

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In his submission, the convener of the event, Director General Sports, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Sports Council,
McAnthony Anaelechukwu noted that the council has started imbibing the community sports ownership theory by establishing Ajegunle Sports Club for different games to promote sports development in Ajegunle.

Commending the organisers for convening the summit, former Super Eagles defender, Ifeanyi Udeze, urged more youths to embrace sports as a career, stressing that youths who were formerly engaged in armed robbery, violence and other bad vices, have turned around to become sports stars after discovering their talent in sports.

The former POAK of Greece player also called on parents to help their wards make good use of their love for sports.

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