By John Kayode
The current Ondo State Football Association has been more active with various activities than in the past years.
A former Vice-Chairman of Ondo State Football Association, Pastor Henry Akingboju told newsmen while reacting to a blog story with the headline ; ‘There was no FA in Ondo State’
Akingboju, who is the Chief Security Officer of the FA said Ondo State Football Association is working well, functional and better than ever.
“It is not true, we do not have a Football Association in Ondo State. We had our election about 2 years ago and Otunba Dele Ajayi emerged the Chairman of Ondo State Football Association. In the contest, I personally withdrew for him and thereafter, we have been working with him, without any acrimony.”
For many years, the State League had no sponsor until a corporate sponsor was secured by the FA. Akingboju said that would not have been possible without an up and doing FA.
“In fact we just conducted the Bet9ja Ondo State Football League that was sponsored by Bet9ja Company. It started last year and concluded with the final this year. Clubs, players and officials went home delighted to witness a resurgence in a game loved by many.
The security operative also clarified that Ondo State Football Association Cup was organized without any rancour among the top State soccer teams in male and female categories.
“I was at Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure, last week to witness the just concluded FA Cup competition. Beside, there are other competitions going on in all the three Senatorial Districts of Ondo State”, he said.
Akingboju also stated that Ondo State FA is a force to reckon with when it comes to the organisation of competitions as the State has hosted national teams, age group competitions, zonal leagues, Governor’s Cup and as well rendering necessary support to the government owned Sunshine Stars.
“Ondo FA plays a vital role in all the Sunshine Stars matches both home and away so I wouldn’t know why someone will say we don’t have FA; that is serious bias taken too far. The FA has made sure the atmosphere during the various leagues is without unruly behaviors.”
He added that competitions never ceased with talents unearthed regularly.
“Presently in Ondo South Senatorial District, a Real Madrid Under-15 soccer competition is ongoing. The preliminary has been concluded hence we are on the verge of starting the Super-6. However, it was postponed because of the resumption of students who are on vacation. That and the one in other Senatorial Districts will kick-start shortly.”
Akingboju reiterated that it was wrong for anyone to come up with such an allegation that there is no football association in Ondo State.
“It is not true, if we don’t have FA in Ondo State, Otunba Dele Ajayi contested as a board member in Nigeria Football Federation in Benin, Edo State and won. He came back and we celebrated with him. We have been working together since then. In sports, you win some and lose some. Humble he has been since he returned to the NFF board. When he could not seek reelection over four years ago, he returned home and supported others in the spirit of sportsmanship.”
Pastor Akingboju however said if there was anything to settle between football gladiators, it should be done in a more meaningful manner instead of ridiculing the efforts of well-meaning individuals and demeaning the State Football governing body. He would go on to say that stakeholders have been benefitting from the soccer body.
“Immediately Otunba Dele Ajayi was reelected Chairman of Ondo State FA there have been coaching courses organized and sponsored by the State FA. A respected tutor and coach Henry Abiodun anchored a programme in 2022 with participants drawn from Ondo and other South-West states.
“We brought people to Akure and so many of our coaches benefitted. They were issued certificates and they were all happy and applauded the FA Chairman. I wouldn’t know why somebody would out of malice conclude, ‘there is no FA in Ondo State.’
“The FA is always involved in security matters as it provides security in all organized matches. As the Chief Security Officer of Ondo State Football Association, Chairman of Irele Local Football Council as well as a former vice chairman of Ondo State Football Association, we are working and intend to take Football to the next level.” Pastor Henry Akingboju said.