The Ekiti state government has reinstated its commitment to work with philanthropists and relevant organizations towards the growth and development of sporting activities in the state.
The Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr Michael Awopetu, stated this during the launch of under thirteen football competition organised by philanthropists of Ekiti Olusegun Fadare with the hope of discovering young talents that would become superstars in the nearest future.
Represented by a senior officer of the ministry, Mrs Sola Osetoba, Awopetu explained that the government was committed to such partnership due to the great benefits attached to sports across the globe.
He affirmed that sport had become a veritable means to enlist young ones into greater height and enhance the economy of any society as being witnessed in European countries. Awopetu noted that one of the agenda of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration was to create an enabling environment for youths in the state to discover and harness their talents.
In a remark, the Chief Coach of Ekiti United football club Mr Olusola Babatola commended the contributions of Olusegun Fadare to the development of sporting activities in the state, saying that the forthcoming competition would help to discover talented youths that would represent the state and country in national competitions.
He affirmed that the foundation had donated some set of jerseys to the Ekiti state football team which he said would be unveiled soon. Earlier, the General Manager of Olusegun Fadare Foundation, Mr Oluwadare Ogunbiyi, said that the football competition would take place between the 19th of September and 3rd of October this year.
According to him, about twelve to sixteen teams will participate in the competition which is aimed at discovering raw talents among the young ones.
He said, “Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria. At a time in our history, Nigeria has one of the finest national teams in Africa.
“Likewise, Nigeria has produced many notable footballers such as Rashidi Yekini of blessed memory, Segun Odegbami, Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and other globally acknowledged players.
“However, most of Nigeria’s football medals and cups came from the junior national teams. In other words, Nigeria’s medals at the global stage are mainly from the young ones.
“However, over the years, our inability to raise Golden Eaglets that will become Flying Eagles have turned our Super Eagles into ordinary Chickens. And if Nigeria must rise again, we must go back to local football competitions and inter-community competitions where young and talented footballers will be discovered, trained and showcased to the world.
“All great footballers started their trade in their local communities. The greatest need of today is how to encourage our young talented footballers not to go into internet fraud and other crimes but to help them activate the stars in them.
“It is on this basis that Olusegun Fadare Foundation, a non-governmental and non-political organization is organising a football competition for Under -13 in Ekiti state.
“According to Mr Fadare, the knowledge and intelligence of Ekiti people are not limited to books; there are also talented footballers among the young ones.”