Isheri, the suburb area of Lagos came alive as it played host to the 14th edition of the Joseph Dosu and friends novelty match at the Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre (RVTC) mini stadium in Isheri.
The annual event brings together foreign-based footballers of Nigeria’s national team who face off against the Joseph Dosu academy formerly Westerlo football academy.
Players on parade included Eagles defender Godfrey Oboabona, goalkeepers Dele Alanpasu and Dele Ajiboye; and striker Henry Onyekuru, who narrowly missed appearing at the 2018 FIFA world cup due to injury.
Others were Al-Ahly striker Junior Ajayi, former MFM hotshot Stephen Odey, 2013 U-17 world cup winnerTaiwo Awoniyi, 2015 golden eaglets poacher Victor Oshimen and Shaktar Donetsk star Kayode Olarenwaju.
They were led by striker Gbolahan Salami and faced a stern examination from the youthful Dosu academy in a thrilling encounter that ended 2-2 in regulation time.
The excited fans who thronged the 2,500 capacity RVTC stadium watched with bated breath as the match went into penalties with the Euro-Eagles winning 5-3 on penalties.
Former FC Zurich and Eagles goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu described the turn-out of both players and fans as impressive and called for more of such events.
“The organiser did a marvellous job. Overall security was good and the atmosphere was perfect.”
“Players who were not playing at the world cup honoured the invitation to play and to showcase their talents to the entertainment of the teeming fans. They really enjoyed themselves. It was wonderful,” he said.
Speaking with Voice of Nigeria, the event initiator and gold medalist at the 1996 Atlanta olympics football event, Joseph Dosu said the tourney is meant to give youths in Isheri the chance to meet Nigerian internationals and get to grips with the game – at the highest level.
“We’ve been doing this for 14 years now,” he said.
“This event brings back Nigerian footballers based abroad, players like Ogenyi Onazi, Taiye Taiwo. They come back either during the European winter break or at the end of the season to play the beautiful game of football with youths of Lagos, Isheri to be precise.”
Typically Lagos is considered the seat of Nigerian football.
The iconic national stadium in Surulere, Teslim Balogun stadium just opposite the former, and the Onikan stadium on the island are the usual venues for football tournaments.
So why RVTC stadium Isheri?
“Many of our current and ex-internationals grew up in Isheri so instead of taking the match to the national stadium or Teslim Balogun stadium, we ensure the celebration is held here in Isheri.”
“It helps the people bond with the players better.”
Before every game, Dosu and friends support the Lagos state government by donating money, logistics and relief supplies to selected rehabilitation centers.
“The Lagos state government has identified with our event,” Dosu revealed.
“They renovated the Isheri stadium, it’s currently one of the best community stadiums in Lagos.
“There are many Messis, Ronaldos and Iwobis residing within this community. We will continue to discover and nurture them to greatness,” he assured.