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Exclusive: Kwara United To Play On New Pitch Next Season – Kwara FA




Exclusive: Kwara United To Play On New Pitch Next Season - Kwara FA

Kwara United didn’t have the best of the 2022-2023 abridged Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season and one of the reasons for this is that they did not have the opportunity of playing their domestic games on their home turf which is at the Ilorin Township Stadium.

Since December 2021, the League Management Company (LMC) which is now known as the Interim Management Committee (IMC) refused to permit Kwara United to use the Ilorin Township Stadium to execute their home matches due to the poor standard of the stadium, especially the playing surface.

Hence, the state government through the Kwara Football Association (FA), led by its chairman, Idris Musa, swung into action to upgrade the standard of the stadium by embarking on the renovation of the dressing rooms and the pitch.

The new surface of the Ilorin Township Stadium pitch.

The new surface of the Ilorin Township Stadium pitch.

Before now, the Ilorin Township Stadium which is also known as the Kwara State Stadium had artificial turf which is not in line with best practices in professional football. Hence, the management of the stadium had to embark on changing the surface of the pitch from artificial turf to natural grass.

This was the first time since 2010 that the Ilorin Township Stadium which has a seating capacity of 18,000 underwent such a massive renovation.

While the project lingers, Kwara United had to execute their home games outside the state since there is no alternative stadium of standard in the state.

Ahead of the 2022-2023 abridged NPFL season, Kwara United played their pre-season games at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos. When the season commenced fully, they moved to Ibadan’s Lekan Salami Stadium where they hosted their home games.

Currently, the Afonja Warriors play their home games at the Ondo State Sports Complex in Akure where they have been recording mixed results.

In the first stanza of the season, the 26-year-old club struggled to win games and the club’s fans feared that the club might be relegated to the Nigeria National League (NNL) before the season ends.

The poor form followed them into the second stanza and the then-coach of the side, Abdulazeez Mohammed had to resign after four straight defeats.

After Mohammed’s departure, the management of the club appointed coach Kabiru Dogo who has been recording mixed results both in Akure, the club’s adopted home, and away from home.

Kwara United unveiled Kabiru Dogo in February 2023.

Kwara United unveiled Kabiru Dogo in February 2023.

Since Dogo became the manager of Kwara United on February 11, 2023, he has recorded just three wins, three draws, and four home and away defeats including back-to-back home defeats at the hands of 3SC and Enyimba in Akure.

Those results have pushed the club to the 8th spot on the league table with 17 points in 17 games. Fortunately for them, they are safe from the relegation zone even though they are two spots away from the drop zone.

Things got so bad for Kwara United that coach Dogo confessed in a post-match interview after his team’s 3-1 loss to Akwa United in Uyo on April 24 that the fact that he and his team are not playing at the Ilorin Township Stadium is a problem to them.

Not playing at home is our number one problem. The most important thing for us now is to manage and survive. It’s a tough league and not playing at home makes it more difficult. Look at other clubs in the same situation as well, Nasarawa United, Rangers, all big teams struggling due to not playing at home,” the coach said.

This prompted Naija News to investigate the state of the Ilorin Township Stadium, the natural home ground of Kwara United. In the course of the investigation, we confirmed that the renovation that forced the team to relocate from the stadium is still ongoing.

However, the ongoing renovation has reached a very advanced stage while the work on the playing turf is completed as regular watering of the natural turf and mowing continue to take prominence.

A video filmed in the second week of May and retrieved by Naija News showed that the pitch is lush green, well-trimmed, and looks ready to be used for the purpose it was made for.


However, a top official of the Kwara state FA who did not want his name to be mentioned disclosed to Naija News that the ongoing renovation of the stadium will be completed and handed over to the FA this month or in June 2023.

He also disclosed that the lush green pitch will be ready to be used before the commencement of the 2023-2024 NPFL season which he said could be in August or September this year.

“The completion and handling over [of] the stadium is planned for this month or next, but the field will certainly be ready for next season of the league which the IMC are working seriously for August or September“, the source said.

Hence, all things being equal, from next season, Kwara United and their coaching staff would no longer blame their poor form (if any) on their inability to play their home games at the Ilorin Township Stadium. And the fans of Kwara United who reside in the city of Ilorin will have a better opportunity to watch their team play at home once again.

What next for Kwara United?

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Kwara United will play their last game of the abridged 2022-2023 season against Remo Stars at the Remo Stars Stadium on Sunday, May 21, 2023. The match is scheduled to kick off at 4 PM WAT.

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