Ilorin Township Stadium: The upgrade and modern culture
Posted : 23 August 2023
The 26,000 sitting capacity Ilorin Township Stadium mostly used for football matches is one of the decent sports infrastructure in the North Central, Nigeria.
The stadium owned by Kwara State, is the traditional home ground for Kwara State-based clubs among which are Kwara United FC, ABS FC, among others.
After many decades of begging chances, the outgone civilian administration gave the approval for the modernisation of Ilorin Township Stadium.
Ilorin Township Stadium, due for upgrade was not attended to for many years, maybe because the government sees no reason for investment in sports infrastructure or negligence of the administration to bring the proposal of the stadium up to speed with the government.
In the whole of North Central lines of Nigeria, only Kwara State boasts of 26,000 sitting capacity stadium, while the stadium in the neighboring states such as Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa have smaller stadiums besides Plateau State that has a big facility.
So, Ilorin Township Stadium is a rallying point for most of the athletes of other state to fulfill their training schedule.
However, for many years, Ilorin Township Stadium was left in bad shape, while the structure was left at the mercy of pilfers.
Due to lack of maintenance, the Nigerian Professional Football League season, the League Management Company (LMC) on December 7, 2021 rejected the use of the Kwara Township Stadium as the home ground for Kwara United.
The LMC made its decision known in a December 9 letter sent to the club’s general manager, after inspecting the facility in Ilorin.
Obviously, Ilorin Township Stadium failed a lower integrity test by LMC, this can be regarded as a shame that the stadium failed such minimum requirements.
The LMC letter read in part, “You will recall that our team recently inspected your preferred home match venue, the Kwara Township stadium, Ilorin in preparation for the kick-off of the 2021/2022 NPFL season.
“The report indicated that serious work needs to be done on areas like the match officials' dressing rooms, toilets, television, camera stands, and other upgrades.
“The electronic scoreboard needs to be erected and put in good working condition.”
The league organiser also faulted the state for the astroturf synthetic pitch which it said has “deteriorated to the extent of posing potential threat to users of the facility.”
The LMC has thus advised Kwara United to find an alternative home venue till the faulty astroturf pitch is replaced.
Before the LMC delivered its verdict on the Kwara stadium, many had complained about the series of activities on the pitch, including a mega rally by the All Progressives Congress.
Playing home games by Kwara United FC at a neutral venue became toxic for the Afonja Warriors who secured most of their points at the Kwara township stadium last season.
Apart from Kwara United, Sunshine Stars and Gombe United are some of the other clubs that have seen their traditional home grounds rejected by the LMC.
The League Management Company has reviewed its earlier decision not to allow the use of Ilorin Township Stadium for the NPFL’s 2021/22 league matches.
In a letter dated December 14, 2021 and addressed to Kwara United, the LMC said it was satisfied with the emergency works that had been done on the Ilorin Township Stadium.
The body also said it had been notified of the ‘standardisation’ work that was to begin on Offa Satellite Stadium, and was therefore granting a provisional approval for its use for the league matches when the Ilorin stadium underwent repairs that would include complete change of its synthetic pitch.
The LMC, in the letter signed by its COO Salihu Abubakar and titled ‘Re: Certification of Stadia: Kwara Township Stadium, Ilorin’, stated, “We have noted the amount of emergency work done to address the lapses enumerated.
“Also, we note that the Kwara State Government has immediately awarded the contract for replacement of the pitch as well as that of the satellite stadium in Offa which will serve as an alternative venue when work starts on the Ilorin stadium. We envisage all these processes will be concluded within the 1st quarter of 2022 and before the conclusion of first round matches.
“Consequently, a provisional approval is hereby granted for Kwara Township Stadium to host your matches within the framework of the NPFL 2021/2022 season.
“We will continue to monitor the stadium as well as others to ensure that standards are met and maintained.”
The Ilorin club were forced to look for an alternative venue at the start of the season due to renovation works going on at their home ground, Kwara Sports Complex.
In order to keep to the standard, Kwara State government ordered a full closure of Ilorin Township stadium. This however came with a price as Kwara United FC only survived relegation by whiskers, and have missed playing in front of their home fans.
Now that the stadium upgrade is almost completed, Ilorin Township Stadium will take its pride in the comity of modern sports infrastructure in Nigeria.