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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Where are the Lagos football clubs?
By Femi Atoyebi
Saturday, 25 Dec 2010


All around the world, the commercial capital of a country is made popular by the existence of one or more football clubs. In Spain, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid represent the capital apart from other clubs in the capital city. In England, London has Arsenal and Chelsea as its biggest representatives while in Germany, the achievement of Bayern Munich makes the city of Munich easily remembered. In Africa, the trend is the same except in Nigeria where there is no major club from its commercial city of Lagos, playing in the high profile Premier League.

In the early days of football in Nigeria, Lagos was the centre of the show. All the major clubs were in Lagos so it was not a surprise that the first generation of Nigerian footballers either emerged from secondary schools in Lagos or came from other parts of the country to join clubs in the commercial capital. Indeed, football thrived and gave rise to many stars at the time.

Most of the clubs were established by companies and individuals and they had permanent camps where the players stayed for most of the days of the week. The Lagos Marine won the second edition of the FA Cup in 1943, beating RAF 3-2. The cup was named War Memorial Cup then. The following season, Lagos Railway dethroned Marine, winning 2-0 in the final. Another club from Lagos, Lagos United, reached the final in 1945 and lost to Lagos Railways while in the same year, Marine returned to the top to beat Corinthians when the cup was renamed the Governor’s Cup.

In fact, it was Lagos clubs all the way until 1953 when a team from Kano beat Lagos Dynamos to take the cup away from Lagos. There were UAC, Federal United, Lagos ECN and Police Machine, all from Lagos. They all contributed the bulk of the players that played in the UK Tourist Team, which played in England with bare feet in 1949.

In 1958, Stationery Stores were founded by the late Israel Adebajo, who was head of the Nigeria office of Stationery Stores Supply Company. The time of its birth coincided with the period which can be described as the second generation of Nigerian football.

The club became a dominant force in Lagos and Nigerian football, giving Ibadan Lions (now Shooting Stars Sports Club), Bendel Insurance and Enugu Rangers a fierce competition. In 1967, the club beat Mighty Jets 3-1 to lift the Challenge Cup and repeated the achievement in 1968 after beating Warri team 3-1. Among the great players that the club produced at the time were Peter Fregene, Haruna Ilerika, Sam Opone and Muda Lawal.

But the club went through difficulties as a result of tussle for its control by family members of the founder after his demise.

After the club’s relegation to the lower division in 1993, the Nigeria Football Association was compelled to cancel all outstanding Pro League Second Division games involving the Lagos darling team following an order issued by a Lagos High Court restraining the club from playing any Pro League games pending the resolution of a lawsuit filed before the court to determine the ownership and control of the club. This action was the culmination of a long-festering ownership dispute involving two of the Adebajo siblings, Gloria Adebajo-Fraser and Adetilewa Adebajo. The crises that the club faced eventually led to its extinction in 2004, but not before players like Peter Rufai, Arthur Moses, Felix Ademola, Dotun Alatishe, Ibrahim Babangida, Ajibade Babalade, Teslim Fatusi, Benji Nzeakor, Abiodun Obafemi, Ike Shorunmu and Abdul Sule had passed through the ranks.

Apart from Stores, Lagos had other clubs who played top level football and even represented Nigeria in CAF competitions. Julius Berger were established by the construction giant, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc in 1975 and became a rival club to Stores. The club’s emergence added to the city’s reputation in Nigerian football as the club went on to win the league title in 1991 and 2000 and the FA Cup in 1996 and 2002. They also reached the final of the then Africa Winners Cup in 1995 and 2003.

Among the notable players who played for the club are Mutiu Adepoju, Muisi Ajao, Jonathan Akpoborire, Uche Akubuike, Emmanuel Amunike, Amir Angwe, Dosu Joseph, Ambrose Duru, goalkeeper Chijioke Ejiogu, Endurance Idahor, Peter Ijeh, Garba Lawal, Peter Nieketien, Obinna Nwaneri, Gabriel Okolosi and Ndibuisi Egbo.

There were other clubs from Lagos, who have played at the top level of football like ACB, First Bank and Union Bank, but today there is no club representing Lagos in the Premier League. This is also coming at a time when some states have two clubs in the league. Oyo State has Shooting Stars and Crown, Kwara has Kwara Uniited and Bukola Babes, Plateau has JUTH and Plateau United, while Rivers has Dolphins and Sharks. Before the relegation of Bayelsa United last season, Bayelsa State had two teams with Ocean Boys being the only club now in the Premier League. Both have won the league and represented Nigeria in CAF competitions.

Painfully, however, the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, is a sport man who plays football with the All Stars and his contribution to the development of sport in Nigeria is huge. He has been applauded by many sports administrators because of his commitment to sports development. A source close to the state Ministry of Sports says the governor has no interest in running a football club that will play in the Premier League.

“The league is not properly run and the governor is being cautious about involving the state finance in such a venture. Instead, he has established the Lagos Junior League, which will benefit youngsters that are selected to represent each local government in the state. There are so many other competitions that Fashola has sponsored or supported in one way or the other so we cannot say that he does not want to help footballers achieve their dreams, after all, he is a footballer too,” he says.

Perhaps the state ownership of clubs is one of the reasons clubs who are owned by companies and individuals are finding it difficult to survive. There are 20 Premier League clubs and they all belong to states governments. Each of them is run through the sports ministry or directly from the governor’s office with help of a board, whose criteria for being a member have nothing to do with football knowledge.

Some have also attributed the lack of big clubs in Lagos to the location of Onikan Stadium and the presence of thugs at the National Stadium on match days. The completion of Teslim Balogun Stadium, just opposite the National Stadium, has offered a breath of life to many sporting events. It has hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FA Cup finals, but without a regular visit by fans every weekend, which the existence of Premier League teams can guarantee, it remains under-utilised. There is an unconfirmed move by ex-players of Stores to convince Fashola to give the club another chance and consider sponsoring the club’s return to limelight.

But Lagos’ loss is Ogun State’s gain. Although the state-owned Gateway Football Club of Abeokuta got relegated at the end of last season, four Premier League clubs now play at the various stadiums built by Governor Gbenga Daniel.

They are Shooting Stars of Ibadan, who will now play in Abeokuta, Sunshine Stars International, who moved from their Akure base to Ijebu-Ode, Crown of Ogbomoso, who play their home matches in Ilaro, and Kwara United, who recently moved to Sagamu.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:10 pm 
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I really miss Julius Berger, that is still my favorite team. Unfortunately I've been stuck to rooting for Shooting for he past 2 years.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:02 am 
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Stores all the way for man.. :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:

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http://nigeriamasterweb.com/paperfrmes.html

Keshi said that before the team arrived South Africa that he told skipper Joseph Yobo that the Eagles were going to win the Cup but the former Everton defender did not believe.
:lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:27 am 
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The demise of stores is perhaps one of the greatest blows to the growth of the local game. I remember the yearly open screening for players attended by players from all over west africa and beyond. These players are all fairly but rigorously assessed and they are nurtured into maturity. Age,race,nationality are completely irrelevant. Every stores fan is a scout and they go everywhere to find players and coaches.Stores is capable of raising a new team every year. Stores was truly great and l sincerely miss the team.

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Last edited by WINNERMAN on Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:46 am 
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CMS wrote:
Stores all the way for man.. :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:


Adebajo Babes for life!! :thumbs:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:43 am 
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Babafad wrote:
CMS wrote:
Stores all the way for man.. :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:


Adebajo Babes for life!! :thumbs:


I remember those days when stationery stores, Raccah Rovers and Spartan of Oweri were in the Benin zone of the preliminary stages of the Challange cup. The match between Raccah Rovers and Stationery was one of the best matches i have watched not only at the ogbe stadium but in Nigeria. Stores had Ilerika, Eyo Martins, and on the Raccah side they had Baba Ottu Mohammed, Shefiu Mohammed, Grandson Abbas and Annas Hammed. Raccah won by 2-1.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:55 pm 
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Stationery Stores of Lagos!! Solid, glamorous and simply unforgettable but still a yeye team to a Shooting fan! :thumb: .

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:32 pm 
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Up supaaaaaa!!!!!And ACB !!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:02 pm 
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Stationery Stores fans - Nigeria's original hooligans!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:23 pm 
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:atc: :atc: :atc: :atc: :atc:
sad situation for real
gain for my Ogun State people :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:33 pm 
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Sir V wrote:
Babafad wrote:
CMS wrote:
Stores all the way for man.. :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:


Adebajo Babes for life!! :thumbs:


I remember those days when stationery stores, Raccah Rovers and Spartan of Oweri were in the Benin zone of the preliminary stage of the Challange cup. The match between Raccah Rovers and Stationery was one of the best matches i have watched not only at the ogbe stadium but in Nigeria. Stores had Ilerika, Eyo Martins, and on the Raccah side were Baba Ottu Mohammed, Shefiu Mohammed, Grandson Abbas and Annas Hammed. Raccah won by 2-1.


Better or lesser than the Bendel vs. Rovers' game at Ogbe Stadium?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:42 pm 
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Stores fan representing, how sad that family conflict led to the demise of a great club like Stores.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:42 pm 
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Some of the great Flaming Flamingoes - Peter Rufai, Wakilu Oyenuga, Yomi Peters, Tarila Okorowanta, Haruna Ilerika, Ajibade Babalade, Benjamin Nzeakor, Olumide Banjo, Godwin Ajeboh.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:32 pm 
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Super Stores will be back!!! :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:

So there are not premier league teams in Lagos? What happened to NEPA, First Bank, National Bank, ACB and ITT?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:27 pm 
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l feel your pain :D :D :D Stores fans always make shooting fans look like kindergatens. Those crazy lagos boys virtually take over lbadan city whenever stores visit. They physically intimidate the shooting fans to surrender and then our players inflict the punishment on the field. The struggle for control start from toll gate and doesnt end until the last stores fan is out opf Ibadan and vice versal. The violence was regretable but the drama was fun :D :D


YemiBrazil wrote:
Stationery Stores of Lagos!! Solid, glamorous and simply unforgettable but still a yeye team to a Shooting fan! :thumb: .

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As for me and my house we will serve the LORD.-----JOSHUA 24 VS 15.

Life in Christ is not a change,it is an exchange. Your ashes for his beauty,your weakness for his strenght ,your destiny assured and a bonus of a victorious life on earth. lt is an irrestitible exchange.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:32 pm 
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At stores, we make stars by the dozens yearly ! Age is no barier, if you are good enough, then, you are old enough.Arsenal is just coping us now. :D :D


Babafad wrote:
Some of the great Flaming Flamingoes - Peter Rufai, Wakilu Oyenuga, Yomi Peters, Tarila Okorowanta, Haruna Ilerika, Ajibade Babalade, Benjamin Nzeakor, Olumide Banjo, Godwin Ajeboh.

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As for me and my house we will serve the LORD.-----JOSHUA 24 VS 15.

Life in Christ is not a change,it is an exchange. Your ashes for his beauty,your weakness for his strenght ,your destiny assured and a bonus of a victorious life on earth. lt is an irrestitible exchange.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:12 pm 
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I have noticed that the SE seems to experience a talent drought whenever the Lagos teams are not performing and scouting.


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