By Akeem Busari
The impressive strides of Ekiti State Football Association has continued to elicit encouraging remarks and supports from within and outside the state football community.
The latest support for the efforts of the Bayo Olanlege led Ekiti State FA board was delivered yesterday during an hang out organized the Ekiti FA, with its Grand Patron, Mr. O’Seun Odewale, who is the Special Adviser/ Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement in Ekiti State.
The interesting session which was moderated by Dr. Babatunde Akinbinu, a renowned Public Health practitioner and member of NFF Committee on Sports Medicine, featured top sports personalities including Chief Taiwo Odebunmi, a former NFF board member, Dr. Isaac Ayodele, former Ekiti FA Chairman, members of SWAN, Ekiti State chapter, Senator Gbenga Aluko, a club owner and father of popular footballers, Sone and Eniola Aluko, as well as, several influential sports enthusiasts in the state.
Responding to probings by members of Ekiti Football Builders Forum, Odewale fondly called Egghead by friends and admirers, was quick to acknowledge the needs to develop sports at the grassroots level, also mentioned plans by the state government to rejuvenate school sports in a bid to attract interests in sports at the early age.
In view of the request by concerned stakeholders on the forum for the provision of a secretariat for the state FA, he assured that efforts would be geared towards ensuring the FA gets a befitting secretariat as soon as possible.
He went on to express his dissatifaction on the beggarly situation of sports in the state. Stating that one of the ways to extricate sports from the pains of going cap-in-hand to solicit for support and funds, is for sports to be treated as a full time business and not a mere hobby or extra-curricular activity.
” When people imagine the kinds of financial benefits they can derive from sports, I believe that it will ginger more participation and investments.
” It’s not enough to continue to go cap-in-hand to solicit support around. We must appeal to the financial interests of those supporting and resourcing sports, government, private sector and philanthropists, ” Odewale further admonished.