The Oyo State Government has commenced support mobilisation ahead of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifier match between the U23 National Team and Tanzania on Saturday in Ibadan.
The State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Seun Fakorede disclosed this during a news conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre on Wednesday in Ibadan.
The second leg of the tie between Nigeria’s U23 National Team and their Tanzanian counterparts would hold on Saturday at Lekan Salami Sports Complex in Ibadan.
The two teams had played a 1-1 draw at the first leg of the match held in Dar es Salam, the capital of Tanzania.
The Lekan Salami Sports Complex was recently renovated and upgraded to international standard by the Gov. Seyi Makinde administration.
Fakorede said that the media engagement was very important due to the Saturdays international match, which had never happened in the last 30 years
The Commissioner called on all football- loving citizens to come out enmasse to witness the epoch making event and overwhelmingly support the U23 Olympic team to victory.
“We, therefore call on all football-loving citizens to come enmasse to witness the epoch making event and give our darling U23 Olympic team an overwhelming and arousing support to victory,” he said.
Fakorede said that part of government effort was to give the iconic Lekan Salami Sports Complex a beautiful facelift after 44 years of neglect and abandonment by previous administrations.
He said that the newly renovated stadium would also open up new opportunities for the people to generate money and enhance value.
“We are here this afternoon to witness yet another milestone in the annals of the Gov. Seyi Makinde led administration in the State.
“This administration thus far has achieved the unprecedented remodeling of the stadium to an enviable World Class International standard,” he said.
The Commissioner said that the state would on Saturday witness another record breaking achievement in this administration through the hosting of U23 AFCON qualifying match.
He said it’s a thing of joy that Ibadan is hosting an international game again after almost 30 years of dearth of international engagements on the soil of Lekan Salami Sports Complex.
Fakorede charged the people to cooperate with the match officials, urging them to demonstrate patriotism and understanding before, during and after the match.
He said such would enable the state to host more international competitions. The Commissioner also solicited
more cooperations and objectivity from journalists in the state.
He further hinted that the state would also host the second leg of the U23 team against Costa Rica in November, saying the first leg will hold in the US.
Fakorede disclosed that adequate security had been put in place for a rancour-free match, while accreditation would be handled by the FA in conjunction with Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The Chairman of the State Football Association (FA), Oba James Odeniran appreciated Governor Seyi Makinde for giving the state a stadium that could be compared with any across the world.
Odeniran also commended the Commissioner for creating enabling environment for the CAF delegation which accredited the stadium for international matches.
“We are looking beyond the hosting of this first international match. Our efforts and performance would help to encourage further patronage of this stadium.
“The essence of the news conference is to solicit the support of our media houses and the public for the victory of our darling U23 National team,” he said.
Also speaking at the press conference, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Oyo State Council, Mr Ademola Babalola commended the Governor for giving the stadium a facelift which had started attracting international matches to the state.
Babalola, who highlighted the various opportunities and benefits inherent in the facelift, assured them of maximum support from journalists in the state.