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(Picture) Fashola receives UEFA Champion League Trophy in Lagos

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Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state Thursday received the
UEFA Champions League Trophy, even as he urged African
continent to tap into the opportunities the game of football present.
The governor added that tapping into the benefits of football would
help the continent grow its economy and alleviate poverty.
Fashola who spoke after receiving the trophy at the State House,
Ikeja as part of the ongoing trophy tour in Lagos, said “millions of
children on the streets can benefit from the enterprise the game of
football brings, and that opportunities abound in the round leather
game, which has become a major economic contributor to global
development.”
Among those at the presentation include former Super Eagles players,
Austin Jay Jay Okocha and Sunday Oliseh, former European
Footballer of the Year, Ruud Gullit and top management of
Heineken, sponsors of the UEFA Champions League football
competition.
The governor continued “We must take benefit of the power of football
as a tool for growing economy and for alleviating poverty. We can
take millions of kids off the streets, we can take millions of people off
the streets through jobs in stadia, stewards, food vendors,
transportation, jersey manufacturing, and so on”.
He said that one of the lessons of the success of the UEFA
Champions League and the followership it has gained across the world
is what the continent could tap into to boost the followership of
African football club competitions.
According to him “Can we improve the sponsorship of the African
Champions League, can we increase television rights, pay offs, and so
on. It’s pretty in our hands all to do, we have all of the big brands
here, we have the television coverage now, the internet and media
reach is increasing”.
Fashola commended the sponsors of the trophy tour for the
opportunity for football lovers to catch a close glimpse of the trophy, an
initiative he said can inspire young people to dream big and achieve
their goals.
“This is a rare opportunity for Lagosians to make contact with the
trophy which symbolizes many long nights of engagements and passion
in Nigerian homes and communities and I will like to thank most
especially Ruud Gullit who has been a wonderful ambassador of the
game in his playing days and also off the pitch, I hope your
commitment will continue to inspire many young people in the area of
sports and football especially,” he said.
Fashola also urged the organizers of the tour to create a forum to
allow school children in the state get an opportunity to feel the trophy
before the tour ends saying such will be more defining for them”.
He said the state government on its part has in the past invited
sportsmen who have achieved in their chosen career to run academies
and sports clinics to inspire young pupils, expressing willingness to do
same in future.
Gullit, a two time winner of the UEFA Champions League, while
unveiling the trophy with the Governor said it was his first visit to
Nigeria, just as he commended the country for producing excellent
football players in the past.
See picture below ….

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