Nigerian software engineer, Shola Akinlade has commenced plans to create job opportunities for communities in Nigeria with football, after establishing Sporting Lagos Football Club.
The CEO of Paystack (a financial technology company) who has an intention to find young, untapped talents and train them to excel at the round leather game, recently made his intention known to the public.
On the inspiration behind the idea, Akinlade while speaking to a CNN correspondent said a moment of self-reflection in 2021, prompted his motivation to create the football club.
“I lost my dad last year and I was looking at my 75-year-old mum, and it occurred to me that I need to build something that has staying power,”
“Football is one of those things because it is built around communities,” he said.
Without much doubt, Akinlade’s dream to raise the next generation of Nigerian sporting talent, has started becoming a reality with the initiation of his Sporting Lagos Football Club, which he also sees as community project.
Speaking further, Akinlade shared his thoughts on his plans to find young, untapped talents and train them to excel at the sport, since most of them don’t have opportunities or platform to make their dreams a reality.
“There are so many people that are born with these skills, but it doesn’t convert to opportunity,”
“So I want us to spend the next 30, 40 years building something that helps the next generation of football talents in Nigeria,” he added.
The new club, which currently plays in the Nigerian National League, the country’s second-tier is on the third position in the league after ten games.
Akinlade’s concern is also for Sporting Lagos to be a platform for community development and social change.
Part of the club’s governing body at the moment are ESPN journalist, Colin Udoh and sports administrator Godwin Enakhena.