The tradition of the Ajegunle Mock Nations Cup seemed to have disappeared into thin air as the euphoria that greeted the oldest running football tournament in Ajegunle lost steam in recent times. No thanks to dearth of funds, misgivings and tussles amongst the organisers and founding members of the over 30 year old tournament.
Ajegunle is a home noted for the development of sporting talents, especially in the round leather game. This was a tournament that paved the way for the discovery of raw soccer talents on a sandy Navy pitch in which scouts were ready to take the risks on the talents on display and never were disappointed. I need not bore you with talents that had been unearthed from this longest ever grassroots tournament from this clime.
Now under the management of Ajegunle Youth Football Association, a lot has gone under the bridge since the Ajegunle Mock Nations Cup was successfully held from the preliminaries to the finals at a stretch without hiccups and the need to wait for intervention from either the government or corporate institutions.
We have seen cases of finals not been played over a long period of time as a result of unavailability of funds. And when the issue of last year’s finals was brought to the Ajeromi-Ifelodun Sports Council, through the efforts of Hon. Paul Ovie, former Vice Chairman, Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA, they took the bull by the horn.
The Ajegunle Youth Football Association after proper consultations with the Ajeromi-Ifelodun Sports Council, with Hon. Ovie standing as an arbiter, agreed to work together in ensuring the pride of the Ajegunle Mock Nations Cup returns.
In a swift reaction, the Director General of the Sports Council, McAnthony Anaelechukwu alongside Hon. Ovie reached out to the Executive Chairman, Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA, Hon. Fatai Adekunle Ayoola whose response was welcoming.
“We are not going to turn our back to a tournament that brought fame to Ajegunle as a community” Hon. Ayoola began.
“One thing that brought us joy and united us as a people is sports and entertainment, and I am ready to give my unalloyed support to the successful hosting of the Ajegunle Mock Nations Cup from now onwards.”
Hon. Ayoola’s love for sports can be visibly seen with the infrastructural development of various sporting facilities in our public schools and the establishment of the Ajeromi-Ifelodun Sports Council to run independently. Recently, he sponsored the Ajegunle Peace Cup which has turned out to be the highest prize money event in the history of Ajegunle and indeed in grassroots football in Nigeria.
Tentatively, February 14, 2021 has been fixed for the finals of the Ajegunle Mock Nations Cup as Togo and Cape Verde will square up in the third place match while Lesotho and Ghana will jostle for the coveted trophy.
It might also interest you to know that the much talked about Maracana Stadium is under construction and will be fully completed before the end of August, 2021.