In Akure, the royalty also watch local league matches
MANY uninformed sports enthusiasts are quick to say that Nigerians don’t go to the stadia to watch league games because, according to them, local matches don’t offer the kind of entertainment presented by European football.
Some of these bashers of the Nigerian game can name all the squad members of the major European clubs, but can hardly muster the name of a single Glo Premier League star.
Such ignorance are continually rubbished by the weekly figures recorded in different centres of the Glo Premier League, especially in the traditional football towns of Aba, Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Jos and Ilorin, among others. Add to that number, Akure, where the Ondo State Football Development Agency has built a new sports culture that even school children and rustic villagers troop to the stadium to cheer their darling Sunshine Stars Football Club.
On Sunday at the Old Akure Township Stadium, where Sunshine Stars hosted 3SC in a Week Six game, The Guardian was pleasantly surprised to see that aside the usual stakeholders and regular football fans, members of the Ondo royalty where also on hand to savour the thrilling moments of Nigerian soccer.
Perhaps, the presence of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) in the contest was one of the attractions, but officials of the Sunshine Stars revealed that the stadium of about 10,000 capacity is almost always filled up whenever the home team plays one of the traditional sides.
One of the royal presence at the stadium, Princess Adesola Ebiseni, the Regent of Apoi Land, whose late father was the Kalasuwe of the town in Ese-Odo Local Council, told The Guardian that she usually came to the stadium to cheer Sunshine Stars and in the process unwind after the hassles of the week.
Flanked by the state’s Commissioner for Justice, Eyitayo Jegede, and his Sports counterpart, Bekekhimi Edwari, Princess Ebisemi was emotionally involved in the game, which Sunshine Stars won by 2-0 to her delight.
“I am impressed by what I have seen today. I appreciate the fact that the weather is harsh and could be tough on the players, but I like their enthusiasm,” she told The Guardian during the half time break.
She also advised other prominent indigenes of the state, especially the women to always go to sporting venues to unwind and encourage the athletes, saying that such gestures encourage the athletes to do their best when they see spectators cheering and challenging them to excel.
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