How MFM, Ikorodu Utd Boost SMEs In Lagos | Independent Newspapers Limited
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How MFM, Ikorodu Utd Boost SMEs In Lagos

Posted: Mar 5, 2016 at 6:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuike Chukwu, Lagos

Lagosians have always been used to first division football in the country. From the 1960s till early 1990s, first division football was taken for granted by Lagos residents, since there were a handful of first division clubs in the state – Stationary Stores, ACB, FirstBank, Julius Berger, ECN, Nigerdock, Teluwo Babes just to mention a few.

Support for these clubs were not lacking as the fan base was ever growing. In fact, what obtains then was a healthy rivalry among the clubs and their fans. But for over a decade now, football fans in the state have been denied first division football due to the extinct of these clubs. With the refusal of the Lagos State government to own any football club in the state, the responsibility now rest on the private sector.

The reality of top flight football being played in the state dawned with the emergence of two clubs, Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries (MFM) Football Club and Ikorodu United Football Club, in the elite division of the ongoing 2015/2016 league season.

These clubs have not only given Lagosians another opportunity of expressing their love for the sport, but have also revived, hitherto, the business aspect of the sport. With these clubs churning out eye-popping performances week-in-week-out, fans are thronging the stadium to watch these clubs at the Agege Stadium and at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos.

The return of the fans has given artisans the opportunity of making brisk businesses in the form of banners, Jerseys, mufflers, among others. Restaurants around the stadiums have also come alive to serve the teeming fans. Snack shops and other hospitality businesses have also sprung up around the stadiums and are booming especially on match days.

Adeyinka Adeboye, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akinwumi Ambode, agreed that “the coming of these clubs will boost the economy of the state with people trooping to the stadium every weekend.”

True to the words of the governor’s SA, it was all smiles for the residents of Agege during the week-two of the ongoing NPFL season when MFM hosted Rivers United. Similar activities were recorded at the Onikan Water Front, where Ikorodu United had played two home matches against Abia Warriors and Lobi Stars.

According to Mrs. Seun Ogundipe, who own a snacks shop at Agege, there were noticeable upsurge in the small and medium scale businesses on match days at Agege stadium. Ogundipe confirmed that turnover on the day MFM hosted Rivers United was something to behold.

“Will they be playing football here every day or just every Wednesdays,” she asked, apparently to plan her business so as to meet the demand of fans. I finished all of the snacks I brought initially only to call my daughter to bring more for me. Even the bread I brought, I finished them. They were buying even the soft drinks. There were so many people around the stadium wanting our drinks,” she said.

Corroborating, another petty trader at Pen Cinema, Chinedu Okoro, said the business was right before, during and after the match between MFM and Rivers United.

“I don’t usually like football, but when my friend said we should go and watch, I agreed. On getting there, I realized that so many people were trooping to the stadium, so I excused my friend, went back to my shop and carry some biscuits and minerals. I sold all of them. I’m planning for the next match,” he excitedly said.

The above testimonies captured by Independent are very significant considering that small-scale enterprises constitute a huge percentage of the nation’s GDP. This is besides the fact that it will create additional jobs for artisans, thereby stimulating entrepreneurship in the hitherto idle residents.

For instance, at Onikan Stadium before the match between Ikorodu United and Abia Warriors, sale of club’s hand-made souvenirs, went on unabated.

Investigation revealed that the youths made these souvenirs, and earned quick income from the sales of those items. That will obviously be a recurring scenario whenever the team plays their home matches.
Also at the same stadium, sachet water sellers and motorcycle riders, were kept busy throughout the duration of the match.

On a rough estimate, there are up to 70 different sporting and edible wares displayed during the matches at the two stadiums.

Speaking to Independent, Waidi Akanni, former Lagos State Football Association boss, said the emergence of Ikorodu United and MFM will serve recreational purpose, urging the residents to avail themselves of the opportunity to watch the teams and relieve the experience.
“It is a welcome development. I think the teams come at the right time. It will be recreational to watch them play and I will plead with all Lagosians to go and enjoy themselves every match days.”