Lagos to re-grass Teslim Balogun, Campus Mini Stadium to host international matches

Buhari approves release of National Stadium to Lagos Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Kweku Tandoh, flanked by Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan (right) and Director General, LSSC, Mr. Babatunde Bank-Anthony during a media conference by the Sports Commission

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said that plans are underway to replace the artificial turf at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere and Campus Mini Stadium, Lagos Island with natural grass in preparation for the facilities to meet the required standard to host the Confederation of African Football (CAF) matches.

Speaking during the on-going annual ministerial press briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Kweku Tandoh, said the development was in line with the commitment of the present administration towards providing world class sporting facilities.

Mr Tandoh said that Governor Ambode had already given approval for the comprehensive renovation of Campos Mini Stadium in Lagos Island; Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere; Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park, Yaba; Isheri Football Field/Swimming Pool, and Ijede Mini Stadium, Ikorodu.

He said the state government has also begun the process to complete the upgrade of the Agege Stadium with the covering of the remaining seats at the facility.

He said within the period under review, the state government awarded contracts for transformation of Onikan Stadium to an all-covered ultra-modern international stadium with FIFA certified artificial turf and multipurpose arena for entertainment concerts with capacity to accommodate 10,000 people, while preliminary works had already commenced on the construction of Maracana Stadium in Ajegunle.

On the request by the state government to the Federal Government to release the National Stadium, Surulere, Tandoh said the process for retrofitting and upgrading of the facility to host international sporting tournaments was on-going.

Giving details, Tandoh said: “You would recall that the Lagos State Government signified interest in taking over completely the National Stadium and the governor did not just say it, he actually met with the minister of sports and a tour of the facility was carried out.

“One thing later developed and there were signs and signals that the governor received that they were not actually ready to hand over the Stadium to us rather it seems as if they just wanted a concession agreement where the state government would spend the money, get it fixed while the Federal Government would still be in place but that is not what Lagos State Government wants.

“So, during the visit of the President (Muhammadu Buhari) to Lagos State few weeks ago, the governor at the state dinner was able to broach the intention again and he mentioned it in his speech to the President and the President verbally gave approval that that was going to be in place. Just yesterday, the governor directed that I proceed to Abuja next week to deliver some communications that are necessary to put in place a formal handover of the National Stadium to Lagos State Government. We are grateful that this time they will give it to us on the terms that the Lagos State Government has requested for.”