I learned to play football on the dirt roads that exists in the outskirts of Lagos City. We had no field with green grass to play on, but this did not stop us from playing bare footed, using our knapsacks as goal posts and forming competitive teams. My friends and I would compete for hours after school; imitating our favourite players moves and trying to score as many goals before a car needed to pass through the roads. We all dreamed of playing football at the highest level and representing Nigeria in our lifetime. When I migrated to Canada, I started hearing about Rowe Park and how elite athletes passed through the centre. I spoke with an individual who had fond memories of Rowe Park as a young boy.
I have so many memories of Rowe Park growing up – I remember it being the first place where I saw everyone participating in different sports other than football. You know in Nigeria everyone is playing football outside somewhere or in their backyard. Rowe Park was just a place where every athlete went and you can see people playing basketball, tennis or swimming. As a matter of fact, I still remember my uncles lifting me up to dunk on a basketball rim for the first time at the centre. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if players like Olajuwon passed through Rowe Park before moving overseas. Back then I just know if you dominate in Rowe Park people expected you to go far because the level of competition there was very high.
As remembered by a Nigerian living in Toronto, Canada.