Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday received top African football legends at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, urging countries in the continent to look inward and explore the possibility of using sports to grow their economies. He said sports remain a veritable tool to foster growth and development.
Some of the African soccer legends, who paid the courtesy visit to the Governor include Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, El Hadji Diouf, Diomansy Kamara, Didier Zokora, Khalilou Fadiga Austin Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju, Uche Okechuku and Seydou Keita.
The soccer legends would be participating in a testimonial match today put together in Ambode’s honour as he prepares to exit office
The Governor said the sense of brotherhood in sports must be played up for the benefits of the continent in terms of scaling up the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African countries.
Recalling an initiative of his administration known as Project T.H.E.S.E which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Arts and Sports for Excellence, Governor Ambode said right from inception, machineries were set rolling to use sports to grow economy and tourism in Lagos.
“We have always used sports to build bridges and there is this sense of brotherhood. Anytime that you switch on your television and there is an African playing on any line-up be it Liverpool, Tottenham, that feeling is always there and that brotherhood is something that we can use to grow the economies of Africa nations.”
“I had this dream when I came in as Governor that I could use sports, tourism, entertainment and arts with some sense of hospitality to promote excellence.
“I am very honoured that you are all here in Lagos to celebrate with me as I finish my tenure in Lagos State. This match is not only for me, but for the good of humanity. We are not promoting it because we want to make money out of it but we are actually showcasing the fact that there is still something to be done about sports development in Africa and then particularly in Nigeria.
“We have lost a lot of resources and economic growth because people can’t match sports with the economy and that is the mis-match that we are having here. I mean, the question is why do I have to travel to Madrid to go and watch La Liga meanwhile I will pay Airline, pay for hotel and grow the economy of Spain?
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