Governments at all levels have been charged to provide basic sports infrastructure to assist the development of sports, especially from the grassroots.
The Pillar of Sports in Nigeria, Chief Donatus Agu Ejidike who made the call while presenting jerseys to five Kwara teams that did the state proud at various competitions said that the provision of sports centres and encouragement of school sports will engage the youths meaningfully.
The Pillar of Sports observed that Nigeria is lagging behind because it neglected grassroots sports participation, especially at school level.
According to him, ‘You will agree with me that most Nigeria sportsmen and women who won laurels for the nation at international meets were discovered from school or street competitions’, he said.
‘Grassroots sports is important to the development of sports in any part of the world, hence my interest in encouraging young athletes, because they need to be encouraged, motivated and guided’
Today, I am presenting sets of jerseys to our victorious teams who distinguished themselves in various competitions as a fulfilment of my pledge to the Kwara State Football Association, and I am appealing to government and philanthropists to pay attention to grassroots sports, so as to build a productive nation’, he added.
The teams that benefitted from the donations are Kwara Football Academy team that won the Ramat Cup in Kano, Moje Queens of Erin-Ile that did well in it’s tournament in Ibadan, Kwara United FC U-15 team that won silver in the NPFL/LaLiga U-15 Promises, Gidado FC who won promotion to the Nigeria National League (NNL) and Kwara Ladies FC that won promotion play-off to the Women Professional League.
The Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mrs Joana Nnazua Kolo, who was represented at the ocassion by Mallam Abubakar Shehu, the Director of Sports at the Ministry said that Kwara state government will continue to encourage and sustain a platform that supports the development of the youths, especially through sports.
She added that government will also encourage partnership and collaboration with relevant stakeholders towards the development of the youths, even as she commented the Pillar for the support.
The Director of Sports, Mallam Ibrahim Alarape Atanda, Chairman of Kwara FA, Mallam Idris Abdullahi, who was represented by Alhaji Wasiu Lawal, former Commissioner for Sports in the state, Mallam Hameed Adio, Director of Football, ABS FC, Alloy Chukwuemeka and the Chairman of Kwara United FC, Kumbi Titiloye, who was represented by the General Manager, Bashir Badawiy all commended the Pillar of Sports for the gesture, which they say, is adding value to sports development in the state.
The Chairman of Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Kwara chapter, Mallam Ademola Kiyesola, who said that most of the players passed through the youth development platform, thanked the Pillar of Sports, and also presented a souvenir to the Pillar on behalf of Moje Queens of Erin-Ile.
Others present at the ocassion are the Secretary of Kwara FA, Kasim Agaka, Secretary of Kwara United, Hamidu Olowo, Administrator of Kwara Football Academy, Mallam Kehinde Jimoh, the school’s Technical Director, Sam Elijah as well as the officials and Captains of the five teams.