Tell us a little about your background and how you came to start Lagos Tigers Football Club
My full name is Beverley Amaka Agbakoba-Onyejianya. Known as Beverley professionally. I am a Nigerian, proudly African, also connected to the UK where I spent my formative years and another place I consider home. I am a legal practitioner specializing in regulatory and compliance and working with clients primarily in the sports and entertainment sectors. I work under my father’s law firm Olisa Agbakoba Legal based in Lagos ,it’s over 40 years old and we offer fully integrated legal services. I am also a sports business professional too. It sounds like a lot I know.
I founded a youth football club called Lagos Tigers Football Club in 2012. It is an sports academy for boys and girls which I set up because originally I wanted to create a safe space for my first son Luca and his friends to play football in. I also co-founded Tiger Active Sports facility in 2019 with my mom.
My latest personal development initiative is my podcast ‘Developing your A Game’ available on apple, spotify , google and breaker podcasts which is where I talk about business, relationships, faith as told from an African perspective to the world. I invite many brilliant people doing well in their
communities especially women to come and share their story with the world.
My major strengths are teaching, knowledge sharing ,networking and I have a knack for execution, so I try to combine these as much as possible in my day to day. Podcasting so far seems to be the easiest of all my initiatives to start up , lol, but it still requires a high degree of planning and scheduling. Everything we do in life requires a level of intentionality and planning in order to be successful to be honest.
What would you consider as your most significant accomplishment so far?
I am thankful for so many things. It’s hard to single out any individual accomplishment. I am grateful for my family support , the satisfaction I receive from my work, the awards, my little wins and big wins. I feel very satisfied and fulfilled knowing that my work and involvement in sports has helped make sports business become valued and more recognized in Nigeria. I have met some amazing sports entrepreneurs. I am happy that I have encouraged more people, especially women to venture into sports business. I am really happy to support the sports industry in Nigeria. I really hope one day it achieves its potential.
Have you experienced any challenges running this organization as a woman?
Well to be honest , not really no, the challenges faced in running a successful business or programme are not specific to gender. This is really what the world needs to understand as this has been the excuse for excluding women for a long time from certain industries. Personally I have found it’s more to do with the challenges of the business environment . Nigeria is a highly challenging country to operate any business. The regulatory landscape is mind boggling with multiple taxation agencies,
multiple rules and regulations that make it difficult to run at a profit. It takes a lot of grit and determination to stay afloat but you keep pushing. Being a woman in sports I would say has its advantages, you think about everything including the holistic approach to football which tends to be
lacking at grassroots level so I suppose that has been my advantage. So far my gender has made it more of a rewarding experience, business environment aside. Of course we hope the ease of doing
business index improves significantly.
What’s next for Beverley?
I have quite a few goals, no pun intended , smiles. I aim to build up the sports , entertainment and technology practice at the law firm where I work up to a point where it becomes very successful, running almost independently under the main law practice. I want to build up my youth football academy into one of the most successful football academies in Africa. I also want my podcast to become truly global projecting the stories of 100s of successful Africans to the world.
Any advice for Women who would want to pursue this kind of venture?
I want to encourage women to use their voices as a force for good, use your God given natural talents and abilities to find and follow your purpose. The sector I operate in, is currently under represented where women are concerned. We need more female leaders to take up board positions
in sports clubs and teams. I do believe that women bring that much needed emotional intelligence angle to the table and besides that women bring so many unique leadership qualities to the table which is sorely lacking in business organisations for the most part. We need to build more tables if
the current tables won’t accept us. Women should be bolder and apply for executive positions in sports organizations where more gender diversity is needed. I know women tend to be very cautious when applying but I do encourage us to go for things more.
Women can be very successful in the sports industry given that many sports are watched by women, supported by women, we encourage our children to go into sports too and so on. The current head of professional football at FIFA is a woman and so is the sec- gen of FIFA. Many exciting changes are happening in the football industry because of female leadership. I hope to see more women make a conscious effort to go into the sport industry , there are many opportunities from broadcasting, law, sponsorship, etc.
How can well-wishers contact you?
I always love to connect. Please connect with me on social media lets have a banter. You can reach Lagos Tigers Football Club on www.ltfc.club
@maxxyb on twitter and instagram. @ltfcnigeria on twitter and instagram