South West U-13 footballers open new Maracana Stadium
They are the chosen ones. Today in Ajegunle, talented young footballers from the South West region will get the rare privilege to become the first players (boys and girls) to bestride the newly refurbished Maracana Stadium in the heart of AJ City.
The one-day competition is the South West U-13 Football Championship, which will serve as the test run of the facilities at Maracana Sports Centre, which has been upgraded by the Nathaniel Idowu Foundation.
Already, the foundation has completed eight medium and 10 mini-Astroturf football pitches, while work is ongoing on the international standard football pitch, which will be commissioned later in the year.
The football pitches accommodate seven-a-side football games, making it the first time Lagos will have 19 football pitches side by side at the same location.
A member of the Nathaniel Idowu Foundation, Adedotun Coker, said the foundation is planning big for football development in Lagos, adding that arrangements have been concluded to test the facilities with the one-day event.
“The arena is almost completed in the sense that once we complete the standard pitch, it is then we can say we are through with the facilities.
“Already, all the seven-a-side pitches are ready for use. There is a well-researched thought process adopted by the foundation to turn Maracana Stadium into a world-class sporting arena,” he said.
Coker said about 128 teams will feature in the one-day South West U-13 football tournament.
“These facilities will be put to test on May 7 before the final commissioning of the arena soonest. We are looking at 128 teams, including two teams each from southwest state.
“The essence of this one-day football event is to put the facilities to test so that we can identify areas we should work on before the day of commissioning,” Coker said.
The newly refurbished Maracana Sports Centre has hostels, a media centre, conference room, changing rooms, an indoor hall, and a clinic.