Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, Adeshina Araoye says Ilaji FC is platform for discovery and nuturing of sporting talents to stardom.
Speaking on how Ilaji FC became a Nationwide League One (NLO) club, “Ilaji Football Club actually started as a philanthropic gesture of our Chairman Chief Engineer (Dr.) Dotun Sanusi. It started with Ilaji Soccer Academy with an event hosted in 2018 in Ilaji and that’s after the Onara Sports Festival.
“Then, a lot of players were discovered from the tournament and consistently Ilaji FC was formed in 2019, when we started preparing for the Ilaji Football League. in other to put all these players together, the Ilaji FC was also incorporated.
“At some point we discovered that it would not be sustainable unless it becomes a business venture and that’s why we have Ilaji Sports as a form of special purpose venture, so that it will be self sustaining on a long term.
“Sports generally requires a lot capital investment and in other to sustain it, you must be able to get something from it in terms of revenue. It also in sync with our mission as a company.
“Apart from the fact that we want to be a leading hospitality outfit in Africa as a whole, we also want to be a viable platform for the discovery and nurturing of sporting talents to stardom. In other to do that, we need a good structure on ground, funding, strategic alliances and partnership. So with all these, we felt the best way this laudable goal can be sustained is to have a business venture and that’s the position we are in now.
“At Ilaji Resort, we have a golf (mini golf) course, developing a boxing academy and we plan to have a certified boxing gym. As a matter of fact in December 2020 we actually sponsored and hosted a World title fight in Ilaji, were a Nigerian had a bout with an Argentine. The Nigerian boxer won the fight.”
“We have the vision for sports generally but we don’t delve into all sports same time, take it step by step, focus more on football as it’s the bedrock of sports in Nigeria. Once we get it right with football, then will make other sporting activities to thrive,” said Araoye.