Nigeria’s oldest youth sports organising body, the Youth Sports Federation Of Nigeria (YSFON) is 56 years old and both local and the international communities are pouring encomiums and celebrating the ‘Old Lady’ that has endured and survived turbulent times. The ‘lady’ that has given birth to superstars, the ‘lady’ that brought affection and pride to our dear country Nigeria.
Established on the 6th of April 1965, YSFON was the brain child of the then astute journalist and workaholic sports enthusiast, late Tony Ossai Eke. With the backing of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC) and the recognition of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, YSFON changed the face of grassroots sports and youths development in Nigerian.
When most Nigerian youths were naive, lacking in direction and hope, YSFON brought reprieve to their lives, creating unimaginable opportunities through sports for the future greats to tell their stories.
With infectious enthusiasm, YSFON expanded to the nooks and crannies of the country with branches in 36 states and FCT, organising football, athletics, volleyball hockey, handball swimming among others.
In the course of it’s growth, some kind-hearted individuals got attracted and contributed to YSFON’s progress financially. Great minds like late Isreal Adebajo, Alhaji Dr. Garba N. Hamza, late Chief MKO Abiola, late General Murtala Muhammed, Bolaji Oni, Chief (Mrs) Bola Kuforiji Olubi, Major General Joe Garba, Ibikunle Armstrong to mention but a few, helped in sustaining the platform.
The organisation gained stronger footings under the leadership of late President, Dokun Abidoye and late Alhaji Babatunde Jamiu Ojulari, and now the amiable and dedicated Deputy Governor of Kano State, Dr Nasiru Gawuna.
YSFON made its mark early in life and as far back in 1980, when it assembled little known youths to become the first African team to win the Scandinavian youth soccer competition popularly known as Gothia Cup in Sweden, the Brazilian Cup of State in 1982 and 1986, Dallas Cup in 1982, the Mexican Cup in 1983 and so much more.
In the course of these exploits, YSFON produced superstars that gave Nigeria a beautiful and enduring image, winning laurels both locally and Internationally, discovering the likes of Paul Okoku, Tarila Okorowanta, Nduka Ugbade Christopher Anigala, Mikel Obi, Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Osimhen and many more.
Today, as the National President, Dr Nasiru Gawuna, Secretary, Olorogu Patrick Okpavuerhe and the National Executive Committee members are looking back with joy and satisfaction, the world at large appreciates the founding fathers of this Noble Organisation whose ideas, initiatives and love for fatherland have taken us to greater heights.We pray God to spare the lives of everyone behind the struggle to enable Nigerians get to the El dorado of our time.
While clicking glasses for the journey so far, the President, Dr Nasiru Gawuna cautioned that greater task still lies ahead. He appealed to Nigerian leaders not to allow YSFON die, that they should work closely to revive the hope of Nigerian youths by supporting the dream so that our country will rise again and dominate the entire world.