Governor Ambode Commissions Coca-Cola’s Ultra-Modern Youth & Sports Centre in Gbagada MWorld FEATURES, NEWS In a display of the value of public private partnership, Lagos State Government and Coca-Cola Nigeria have today jointly presided over a ceremony to handover a fully upgraded sports facility to the Araromi community in the Gbagada area of Lagos State. The Chief Guest at the occasion was the Executive Governor of Lagos State, H.E Akinwunmi Ambode. The scope of work realized under this completed project covers; 1000 seating capacity pavilion, equipped with bore hole, water sanitation and hygiene facilities for the public and physically challenged, changing rooms for players and referees, 2 units of VIP lounge and Administrative office; and Constructed an 11 aside football pitch (75×45) equipped with flood lights including 2 sets of dugout for reserved players with 10 man seating capacity each; Refurbished 150 person seating capacity multipurpose hall, Refurbished the Generator house and perimeter fence, constructed a parking lot to accommodate 20 cars, gate house and kiosk. Director, Public Affairs and Communications , Coca-Cola West Africa Business Unit, Clem Ugorji; Non-executive Director, Nigerian Bottling Company, Laolu Akinkugbe, representing the Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company, George Polymenakos and Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Bhupendra Suri at the commissioning of the Araromi Community Sports Centre, Gbagada, Lagos refurbished by Coca-Cola Nigeria The Araromi Community Sports Centre, Gbagada is among the several sports facilities in Lagos that have recently been upgraded by Coca-Cola. Other facilities reconstructed in the past by Coca-Cola include the Amoo Training Pitch Agege, Orile Ignamu Sports Centre, Oworon-shoki Playing Field, the Jakande Estate sports terrain, to name but a few. At the unveiling of the facility, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Bhupendra Suri disclosed that the renovation of the pitch is part of Coca-Cola’s vision of promoting sustainable communities through social enterprise. “For more than 50 years now, Coca-Cola has had a strong association with sports and particularly football in Nigeria. We however realized that to further drive Nigeria’s grassroots football and talent development, we needed to partner with the authorities to upgrade selected sports facilities across the country to give our young players access to world class sports facilities in their local communities.” he declared. He added that plans are underway to provide talented youth in Gbagada area with exposure and mentorship from some ex-internationals who will volunteer to train young local players in the facility from time to time. While commending Coca-Cola for its pivotal role in developing grassroots sports facilities, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, who represented the Executive Governor of Lagos State remarked that the centre will help to engage the youth in the community meaningfully, as well as empower them to make success of their passion. Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Bhupendra Suri; Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule, representing the Lagos State Governor, H.E, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode; and Former Deputy Governor, Lagos State and Chairman of Lagos State Football Trust Fund, Otunba Femi Pedro at the commissioning of the Araromi Community Sports Centre, Gbagada, Lagos refurbished by Coca-Cola Nigeria According to her, “It will provide a platform for the positive engagement of our youths and the discovery of talented young people who will make career out of their skill, and contribute to the growth of the economy”. Appealing to other corporate organisations to partner with the State Government in sponsoring the state’s developmental projects as done by Coca-Cola, Adebule remarked, “I believe the funding of local projects such as this should not be the sole responsibility of the government. We need more private-public partnership as this to develop the state. She called on the community to take ownership of the centre and put it into judicious use. On his part, the President of Gbagada Grassroots Sports Association, (GGSA), remarked that the centre will, while fulfilling its sports development objectives, also bring the community together and empower youths within the community to reach for their football dreams. The Araromi Sports Centre, Gbagada, one of the oldest sports facilities in Lagos State has produced many football stars. Notable amongst them are Obafemi Martins and Segun Fetuga. It is anticipated that with the latest refurbishment by Coca-Cola Nigeria, more budding football stars will emerge from the locality.