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Official Review by Alonge Akinlolu, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Onikan Stadium currently serves as home ground for two football clubs; COD United FC and Stationery Stores FC. Both clubs play in the Nigeria National League (the second level football league in Nigeria).
The stadium formerly known as King George Stadium and later Lagos City Stadium, is now known as Onikan Stadium. It's located on the southeastern part of Lagos Island near Tafewa Balewa Square (TBS).
Out of the two clubs who play their home games at the Onikan Stadium, Stationery Stores FC of Lagos have brought the ever-busy Lagos fans out of their homes to see beautiful soccer. Since the Flaming Flamingoes came back to League Football in Nigeria, every Stationery Stores home game at the Onikan Stadium has turned to a carnival like scene. The Onikan Stadium also hosts the office of the Lagos State Football Association (LSFA).
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There isn't much on offer within the stadium. At the back of the covered stand there are a few vendors who sell candies, soft drinks in pet bottles and some pastries. You'll definitely have options to fill yourself outside of the stadium. Just a walk away from the stadium, there are restaurants that offer local dishes for between N500-N1000 ($5-$10).
The comeback of Stationery Stores of Lagos has brought renewed life to Onikan Stadium. The Lagos club nicknamed "Adebajo Babes" or "Flaming Flamingoes" has a massive support from the grassroots level. Before the darling team of Lagos came back to league football in Nigeria, City of David United FC (COD United FC) just couldn't command the presence of encouraging fans at the stadium. Although they were a new club, the "White Lions" tried to always make the Onikan Water Front lively. A few hours to kickoff, the DJ entertains the fans with good music while fans keep their ticket for the raffle draws which might earn them some good prize if the ticket number was picked.
But with Stationery Stores back, Onikan Stadium became a beehive of activities with fans wearing the colour of the Flaming Flamingoes during home games with everyone proudly flashing their white handkerchief. The energy level in the stands is a beautiful thing to watch. For first timers, it will be better for you to get into the stadium early if you want to sit under the covered stand.
Lagos is the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria harbor, and there are a lot of activities. The area around Onikan isn't as rough as some might want to think. The stadium location isn't a place where you'll find heavy security presence despite the fact that there's a major police station opposite the stadium, but you'll see a few policemen at strategic points, which does add value to the safety of fans.
Stationery Stores FC fans are a delight to watch. It's more than just supporting a club and that shows in their attitude. When the supporters of Stores visit any match venue, they do so in high spirit. They play their part effectively to see their team, so that Stationery Stores FC may conquer any opposition. They make sure their presence intimidates the home or visiting fans as the case may be. They come in large numbers chanting 'Up Flaming, Up Stores, iyonio,' and their signature is the white handkerchief. It's tied around the hand or neck. They keep booing the opponent and cheer their team at every touch throughout the match.
The stadium is located in the southeastern part of Lagos Island near Tafewa Balewa Square (TBS). Driving from any part of Lagos to the stadium on match day could be hectic considering the heavy traffic around the stadium, but if you insist on driving to the stadium then you'll have to get there early and leave a little early before the match ends.
It's much easier if you access the stadium by public transport. The best option is to join the BRT bus from your location to TBS-Tafewa Balewa Square. Then just take a walk to the stadium.
Tickets to Stationery Stores FC games are priced at N200 & N500 ($3-$7) and only available at the stadium while in most cases the gates are thrown open for COD United FC games.
Your ticket might earn you a bounty prize during the raffle draw at COD United FC games.
This is the oldest football stadium in Nigeria, and warrants an extra point for its longevity.
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