By Adeboye Ajayi
Football administrators and enthusiasts in Western Nigeria today in Ibadan unveiled the logo for a new Odua Football League that will feature teams from the six states that make up the region.
The unveiling was at the launch of Western Nigeria Football Forum, which also plans to revive the Principals’ Cup among secondary schools and another competition for tertiary institutions in the region.
The Forum, which is located at the historic Cocoa House, was masterminded by the Dawn Commission, overseeing the sustainable development of the region.
Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, attended the commissioning and unveiled the league logo and the office.
Seyi Akinwumi, NFF’s First Vice-President and Chairman of Lagos Football Association (LSFA), traced the establishment of the Forum to a meeting held by stakeholders at Abeokuta in 2015.
He said the Odua Football League being introduced by the Forum is aimed at integration, which is also in line with the NFF Statutes on regions.
“It is not going to be a kind of discrimination, but something being done to engender regional integration and also help to promote grassroots football , as well as produce future stars,’’ he said.
Akinwumi promised that the development would witness the formation of a league, revival of Principals’ Cup and Tertiary Institutions’ competitions.
He also assured that the initiative would accommodate all the stakeholders in the zone, such as coaches, referees and media.
“For instance, coach Adegboye Onigbinde will handle coaching programmes in the zone, to prepare them for football development, with all the other coaches from other zones attending,” the NFF first vice-president said.
While assuring that the zone has come into the game to stay, Akinwumi disclosed that there would be television and online broadcasting of the league to make it vibrant.
Also, Seye Oyeleye, the Acting Director-General of DAWN Commission, said the commission supports the Forum because of the potential football offers youths from the south west zone.
“Football is a good business and DAWN Commission will assist youths in the zone to benefit from the potential,” he said
Pinnick, applauded the idea of the Forum and the competitions it has lined up, describing it as the future of football in Nigeria.
“I must commend the emergence of Western Nigeria Football League. It will form the future of Nigerian football. It is a pacesetter for other regions and it will assist in discovery of new stars,” he said.
Pinnick said the South West zone which produced the likes of Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Felix Owolabi and Sam Ojebode has again shown it is always the pacesetter.
“Ibadan, the headquarters of South West, is noted for being the first in the establishment of television, radio and university. This is another first the zone has recorded,” he said.
While congratulating those behind the move, the NFF president promised to furnish the new office for the Forum.