Former European Champion Notthingham Forest and Championship clubside Queens Park Rangers have both played at the Olubadan stadium, Ibadan Football Association (IFA) Chairman, Barrister Rotimi Alli has revealed.
Olubadan stadium means alot to Ibadan football enthusiast but little did many know that it has hosted a former European Champion on that same pitch. Revealing some of the historical happenings of the stadium while being a guest on SPORTS DRILL anchored by Raymond Tolulope on Pensioners 106.7FM Ibadan, Libero as Rotimi is fondly called disclosed that two English clubsides Nottigham Forest and Queen Park Rangers came to play at the stadium in the 60s.
“That stadium has hosted a lot of big games, even in the 60s, I think we have about two teams, I think Nottingham Forest came from England to play a friendly match against Ibadan Lions then.
“Olubadan was functioning before Liberty Stadium, it came into existence before Liberty stadium, so we have two teams who came in, I think Queens Park Rangers too came in we are talking about the era of the Teslim Balogun. I wasn’t alive but by virtue of this my office, I have been privileged to relate with elderly people like Chief Adegboye Onigbinde.
“If you read the book of Chief Lekan Salami’s five decades of football, you will see all these things there. Olubadan is something that if you have a passion for football, it is not business, it is not politics. It is just football and football all alone. Everything that happened from the onset till now has been football. It has now become like a Township stadium. If you go to England, you will see stadiums like this, everything doesn’t have to be turned into a sports arena. It is for football alone.
The pitch is the home of the IFA league, Olubadan Cup amongst other competitions. It has produced alot of stars that has represented Nigeria accross various levels age grade football and most importantly the national team, Rotimi, a former central defender during his playing days shed more light.
“Over the years, there are three major competitions that the Ibadan Football Association (IFA) has been sponsoring. Of course, the first of it is the IFA league, then the Olubadan Cup which has been held for 46 years. IFA league Olubadan Cup and the Chief Lekan Salami Cup are the three traditional competitions known to IFA. The three competitions are played at the Olubadan stadium. The stadium is meant for nothing but football given by the Western region to Ibadan football enthusiast to promote the game at the grassroots level.
It has produced many players, some of these players had their first-ever football touch in the stadium. A lot of my listeners may not know some of the names I am about to mention except for the older ones.
“Players like Teslim Thunder Balogun was a product of the pitch, Dejo Fayemi, Baba Suara of blessed memory, Chief Niyi Akande, Jossy Lad even Chief Segun Odegbami was a product of that pitch, Coach Dauda Ladipo, Duda Adepoju, Sam Ojebode, Kunle Awisu, a lot of them started from that pitch and they ended up playing for the national team.
In recent time the likes of Mutiu Adepoju, Dimeji Lawal, present Shooting Stars coach Edith Agoye, Femi Opabunmi and a whole lot of younger players making waves right now… so many players have passed through that pitch and they cannot forget the contributions of Olubadan Stadium.”
Olubadan stadium has undergone renovation under Olurotimi. According to him, the Ibadan heritage (Olubadan stadium) will continue to provide a platform for grassroots soccer players development.