26th August, 2010
Bankole Olowookere is the Team Manager of New Generation Football Club of Kosofe. The dark skinned manager spoke about his pet project and how the grassroots players can benefit from it.
Your team have not been playing high profile football competitions recently, what really happened?
I decided not to take part in some football competitions because I am planning big for my players and other grassroots players, something that will help their football career in the nearest future.
What are you planning for grassroots players in Lagos?
Iâ€™m planning to organise a Community Cup for the grassroots clubs in Lagos. During this competition, good players will be selected and sent to Sport Endowments Foundation in order to assist them.
This is a big project that involves huge capital. How would you execute this project?
I have been in grassroots football for many years and I have known the agony and pains the grassroots players pass through daily. I am the founder of the Sport Endowments Foundation and I have reached many sponsors concerning the programme. They have assured me of their support.
What will the foundation do for the selected players?
First and foremost, the players will register and submit their passports to the Foundation before the competition starts. The selected players will be counselled at the Foundation. We will also assist the players to solve their welfare problems and monitor their activities wherever we send them to.
Where do you want to send the players?
I said earlier that the grassroots players are suffering and nobody wants to come to their aid. Those who are managing football in this country are not ready to cater for the welfare ofÂ the grassroots players. The foundation will get clubs for them both in Nigeria and abroad, and whoever wants to go to school among them will be sponsored on scholarship. I want to set the pace for others to follow.
Apart from this programme, what are you doing now?
I am handling Kosofe Local Council Football Team in the ongoing Lagos State Speakerâ€™s Cup. My team are in the second round of the competition and I pray that we should go far in the tournament. Although we walked over Ijede Local Council in our opening match, I expect a tough match in our next game.
Do you think Kosofe can go all the way to the final?
It is too early for me to say that my team will reach the final. I donâ€™t boast. All I can say is that we will take the match one by one. Mind you, I have a team who can cause upset in the competition.