The Proprietress of Abimbola Queens Football Academy, Oke-oyi, Ilorin, Chief Mrs. Abimbola Olaoya has reiterated her commitment to the development of female football in Kwara state as Olabim 6-a-side female football tournament kicks off today.
Olaoye made the disclosure on Monday, while speaking at the seminar organised as a precursor to the second edition of the tournament.
The seminar, according to her, was organised among many other things, to acquaint all the participating teams with the rules and regulations that would guide the futsal game and also enlighten them more on the significance of the soccer fiesta.
“Part of the aims of this programme is to unearth hidden talents, create opportunities for them, support kwara state female soccer and propagate the gospel of female football across nooks and crannies of the state” she added.
Stressing the importance of education and sports for all the players, she pointed out that a lot could be achieved by combining the two endeavors as a driving force to reach the ideals of the game urging them not to neglect one for the other. She also called for the understanding and support of parents in allowing their female children to play football.
According to Olaoye, the competition will feature six teams namely; Abimbola Queens FA, Olabim FA, Kwara Ladies, Offa Ladies, Abruka Queens and Iponrin Queens FC. The final event is scheduled to come up on Sunday 13th of December.
Delivering his speech at the seminar, the Deputy Director in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Kwara State, Mallam Ibrahim Bako commended the initiator of the project, who he said has adopted the policy thrust of the Ministry as the focus of sports development is now hinged on the principle of ‘community sports development strategy’.
Bako, who outlined politicization of football, lack of sports equipments and exposure, hiring of coaches, the phenomenon of age cheating, proper training and motivation of players as some of the challenges militating against football development said it is high time to plan critically for the game as rhetoric wouldn’t break the shackles.
In view of the notion that sports is a unifying factor, the former Kwara United scribe noted that the challenges at hand are surmountable if there is adequate training and re-training of athletes, coaches and other stakeholders with special focus on the intrinsic strength and predominant advantage of sporting activities in each part of the state towards discovering talents.
“We must endeavour to identify sports with comparative advantage to some geographical temperament of some local government in the state such as wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, football, athletics, and shooting by paying special attention to them so that raw talents could be discovered and nurtured to stardom”.
In her own remarks, Hajia Segilola Alaya a board member of Kwara Football Association, who represented the Kwara FA Chairman expressed delight at the initiative particularly as it is holding in her Local Government Area, even as she lauded the organizer of the seminar for her ingenuity towards giving female football in the grassroots a new breath.
The Proprietress of Abruka Queens, who is also the Chairman Kwara State Female Football Development Committee, urged all the stakeholders to rally round Chief Olaoye as she promised to provide kits for the finalists of the tournament.
Earlier in his presentation, Kolawale Emmanuel, a Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) referee and member Kwara State Referees Council had admonished all the players to be disciplined and abide by the rules of the game as he assured a level playing ground for all the teams participating in the tournament.
Alhaji Abdulganiyu Ayinla, a community elder from Panada, while reassuring the organizer of their continued support, called on the government to increase the efforts towards rejuvenating sports in the grassroots.
Inspector Jelil Abdulrahman, who represented the Divisional Police Officer of Oke-Oyi Division, CSP Issa Nasiru enjoined all the players to be law abiding and be respectful to their parents noting that the virtues remain critical to their aspirations.
The 6-aside tournament will commence today, at LGEA Primary School, Oke-Oyi with the first match between Olabim FC and Abimbola Olaoye FA billed for 3pm.