Prince Sulaimon Adebola Gbadamosi, popularly known as Prince GAS, is the son of Onigando of Igando, Oba Gbadebo Lasisi Gbadamosi, having been born into the royal family over forty years ago. A well-known sports consultant in Alimosho, he has been into active sports promotion for nearly 20 years, having completed training abroad in sports directorship in 1995. He trained in South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire. Since returning to the country to help develop sports at the grassroots, some of the football competitions he has organised in Lagos and environs include Olori Hadijat Memorial Cup (in memory of his late mother), Prince GAS football competition, Ever Increasing Cup, Iyk Madu Obi Cup, Onigando Cup, Oba Onikogbo Cup, Jimoh Ajao Football Championship, among others. He is the Treasurer, Grassroots Football Association of Nigeria. In this interview with Our Community’s John Ogunsemore, he spoke about his efforts towards grassroots sports development in Alimosho, Lagos and environs.
Having been into sports promotion for many years, what has the experience been like?
As the saying goes, an idle man is the devil’s workshop. That was why I started organising a sporting event for the youth in the community. Our first competition was held in 1995 and that was an inter-compound competition which was won by Isunbajon compound; the last one was won by our compound – Idojigbo. It was used to celebrate Hon. Jimoh Ajao at 60. With such events, we have discovered a lot of talents. Presently, we have Ramon Azeez playing in Granada, Shola Bosa playing for Gabros International, Samuel Chima playing for Jizzars Bars of Uzbekistan, and Adigwe also playing abroad.
I attended Local Government Primary School, Igando; Igando Community High School; Ewekoro Community High School, Ifo (Ogun state) and Arigbajo High School, where I repeated my Secondary School Certificate Examination in 1995. After that, I attended Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to read Physical Education but I was given Business Administration.
What will be your response if assigned to the throne?
Well, that is a very big question, which a prince like me cannot answer because I wish my father long and fruitful life. Back then, my father happened to be a good trader but at the end he assumed the throne as the Oba of Igando. However, if I am chosen by the oracle, I don’t have a choice than to accept it. As for me, I prefer being the sport minister to being an Oba.
How many football competitions have you organised?
There have been more than 60 of such football competitions. Some of them are: Prince GAS Cup, Ever Increasing Cup, Oba Onikogbo Cup, Olori Hadijat Memorial Cup, Iyk Madu Obi Cup, Onigando Cup.
You have a competition coming up very soon. Can you shed light on it?
We have 11th edition of Prince GAS Cup coming up very soon and 6th edition of U15 football competition which will also come up very soon.
What should teams that choose to participate in the events be expecting?
This very one (Prince GAS Cup) is going to be different because we’re using Igando, Egan, and Isheri (playing fields). Presently a lot of teams are coming. We’re expecting almost 32 teams presently. I said this year’s edition will be different because we’re giving them trophy to take home, jerseys for semi-finalists and medals and cash prizes. Also, individual awards will be given to them. We thank God Mr. Fruts is there for us this year. They’re coming down to brand the venues for us.
Apart from Mr. Fruts, are there other sponsors?
Presently, the Osolo of Isolo is promising to do something for us this very year. Then Elder David Akere, our grand patron, is there for us. He has been doing it and he is ready to do more this year again because this year’s event is going to be gigantic. It’s going to be quite different from the other ones that we’ve been organising. Dr. Olusegun Oroleye is also with us; he plans to support this year’s competition. Even Idowu Ogundipe and Chief Iyk Madu Obi.
What are the benefits for winners?
The first prize winner will go home with a huge sum of money that I do not want to mention now because it is going to be increased next year. After that, the best three players will go for trials in MFM football club for free age, while underage will have scouts coming to pick the best players courtesy of a friend whose name I won’t mention because he doesn’t like publicity.
As some who has so much experience organising sport competitions at the grassroots level, what challenges do you encounter?
We encounter a lot of challenges. It’s not easy. If you want to organise a football competition, you must have a lot of perseverance. Imagine having 20 players multiplied by 32 teams U15 and free-age. You know how young lads behave. We face a lot of challenges. Lastly, we are not receiving any support from the local council development area for five to six years now. Nothing has been done to the grassroots and we face it ourselves except for few people that support what we’re doing. Those are the challenges, although we still give glory to Almighty God. We hold it yearly. We have organised over 60 sporting events. Apart from football, we’ve organised other events – board games, ram fights, and others.
What advice do you have for the LCDA administration in terms of support?
I am not the only one organising sporting events but I can say that I’m the only one they see in Alimosho that holds these competitions every year. My advice for them is that they should try to support upcoming youths because the idle hand is the devil’s workshop. We’ve been doing it on our own but while we’re doing so, we need their support too. Even this own that is coming up, the Vice-Chairman (of Igando-Ikotun), Prince Adewunmi Dada, has promised me that he is going to support.
When you’re not busy organising sport competitions, how do you relax?
I used to be a party rider but I’ve reduced it because sport prevents me from partying as I used to. I love listening to Fuji music and my best artiste who I can also call a friend is King Sulaimon Adekunle Malaika. I love him so much.
Where is your favourite spot to hangout?
I don’t have a favourite spot unless a friend (musician) is performing anywhere within Lagos. I do attend other artiste’s (Pasuma and co) shows but I prefer Malaika’s.
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