6th December, 2012
There are mixed feelings in grassroots football during the first quarter of this year. First, the period witnessed series of protests by coaches, club owners and players who complained about the fees charged for the Lagos State Challenge Cup.
Before the commencement of this year’s Lagos State Challenge Cup, the organisers had announced that grassroots clubs that wanted to participate in the 2012 edition would pay N35, 000 for registration fee, including N50, 000 affiliation fee, making it a total of N85, 000.
Also, the professional clubs were expected to pay the sum of N135,000 for the state FA Cup including N35, 000 for registration fee and N100, 000 for affiliation fee.
The move affected many club coaches who were preparing their teams since January ahead of the 2012 Lagos FA Cup, but they later declined to register for the tourney when the organisers announced the exhorbitant fees for the competition.
Some of the club owners and coaches who could not afford to pay for the registration and affiliation fees shunned the Lagos FA Cup, and registered their teams in neigbouring states such as Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo States.
Chief Coach of Mighty Stars, Mathew Dafe, whose team failed to play in this year’s State Challenge Cup told Grassroots Soccer Guide that the fees were outrageous and that there was no way he could raise the money within a period.
“My team opted out of this year’s FA Cup because I could not pay the huge amount of money required to register for the competition. When I spoke with my colleagues about the fees, some of them were angry and opted to register their teams in other states,” Dafe lamented.
In his own remarks, Rocky Stars Coach, Samson Ogunsanya disclosed that having trained his team for three month for the Lagos FA Cup, it was rather unfortunate that his team missed this year’s edition.
“When I discovered that there was no way I could get the money to register my team for Lagos FA Cup, I told my players to feel free to play for any club that wanted their services. I gave up my desire to play in this year’s FA Cup because of outrageous fees from the Lagos FA, “he said.
The numbers of teams that registered for this year’s Lagos FA Cup were not up to 60 clubs compared to what was experienced two or three years ago when more than 100 clubs registered and participated in the championship.
Chairman of Rising Stars, Lateef Ishola described this year’s edition as the worst in the history of the championship. Ishola said despite the huge amount of money the organisers charged the clubs, there were no sponsors while there were no consolatory prizes for participating teams at the end of the tournament.
“Don’t blame the clubs that registered to feature in other states because many of the grassroots clubs are only struggling to survive. That’s why I am appealing to the organisers to reduce the fees in the next edition if they want more clubs to take part in it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the first quarter of 2012 also witnessed many grassroots football competitions played across the state. One of the tournaments that shook the first quarter under review was the U-15 Adebutu Football Competition, which was won by Damilola Taylor Football Academy.
Thirty two teams took part in the tournament that lasted for a month. Damilola Taylor Football Acdemy defeated Glory FC 3-0 in the final.