‘Watch out! Sporting Lagos FC is here to change the narrative’
The movers are some of the most experienced young men in Nigeria’s sports business. With a former chairman of MFM Football Club, Godwin Enarkhena, as its technical director and international sports journalist, Colin Udoh, as one of the top officials, Sporting Lagos Football Club is a new team that has its sight firmly fixed on the top of African football.
A brainchild of the creator of Paystack Payments Limited, Sola Akinlade, Sporting Lagos FC has also gathered some of the country’s brightest young business minds with a view to rewriting the story of club football business in Africa.
At the weekend in Lagos, top officials of the nascent club met with journalists to discuss what they believe will change the way football is run in Nigeria.
The two-week-old club is registered to play in the Nigeria National League (NNL), which is the second tier of the country’s football league, but Enarkhena is sure that Sporting Lagos FC will only spend one season in that division.
“This is a new baby that is here to change the narrative. We have software engineer, Akinlade, as our motivator, with a tested businessman, Uzo Okonkwo as our general manager.
“Sporting Lagos FC was conceived because we want to employ our knowledge to create a 360-degree experience in football management. We won’t create a family-oriented club, which will offer more than just football to fans.”
Enarkhena disclosed that the club is throwing its membership/ownership open to interested investors, who will become part owners of the enterprise.
Sporting Lagos FC, which made its debut in Nigerian football at the just concluded Eko NNL Pre-season competition, where it finished third, will debut in the league on February 12 when it hosts Go Round FC in the first game of the season.
“One thing we can guarantee is that no player or official will be owed a day of his wages. Every player or coach in Sporting Lagos FC will have proper contracts and will earn market value based on each individual player’s talent.
Explaining how Sporting Lagos will change the way the game is run in Nigeria, Udoh said Akinlade wants to use football to deepen their relationship with his community.
“Akinlade is a youngman, who grew an idea from his brain and built Paystack, which is one of the biggest solution providers in Africa.
“Now, he wants to create a football club that will introduce innovations to the matchday experience. We will have vendors, concessions, food and entertainment on matchdays so that fans will look forward to good football and wonderful entertainment on matchdays.
“The long-term plan is to build a family-friendly club with the best possible players and coaches. Uche Okagbue is our head coach.”