By Emmanuel Adeleke
The lawmaker representing Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Akin Alabi, on Friday, commissioned a N100 million football pitch, named Akin Alabi Arena, at Urban Day Grammar School, Old Ife Road, lbadan.
The project, which was personally funded by the lawmaker, was aimed at promoting grassroots football and discovering talents.
Speaking about the project, Alabi said: “Anyone that knows Urban Day Grammar School very well will know that this is the hub of grassroots football in this entire axis.
“A lot of grassroots football were played in the 1990s. Even though I didn’t attend Urban Day, I schooled at Federal Government College, Enugu. But because I lived down the road, I know that there is football every Sunday over here. Over the years, everything got destroyed by erosions and we felt, it is time to resurrect the good old days.
“We decided to do this and resurrect grassroots football and discover new talents. Who knows may be the next Super Eagles player or the next Ajax or Arsenal player is going to come out from here,” he said
The lawmaker said the project gulped over N100 million, emphasising that the real work was carried out at the underground of the pitch.
“As you are looking at this pitch, the real work is not the green grass, the real work is not the stand, but the real work is the underground. A lot of work was done underground. There are big pipes underground, so that when it rains, it drains the water.
“Real engineering work is under the ground. The grass too is expensive. Top quality grass and it is the best now in Ibadan,” he added.
Alabi further explained that the money realised from the pitch would be used by the management of Urban Day in maintaining the field and school.
“The aim of this, we are going to make it costly commercial. What that means is that, the school will use it for free, the alumni association will use it for free, but when any club side wants to come from outside, they will pay a token.
“That token will be used for maintenance of the pitch and maintenance of the school. Rather than using the money to go and build classroom, if we do this now, and start generating money, we will now start using the money to buy chairs and we still have the pitch that will keep generating money,” he said.
Earlier, a novelty match was played between Akin Alabi and friends and Urban Day Ambassadors.
The game ended 2-1 in favour of Akin Alabi and friends, with the lawmaker scoring the two goals.
As part of his empowerment programme, the lawmaker will on Saturday, November 19, give 100 laptops to youths in his constituency.