Leks Sports NG, a registered professional sports organisation recently had its maiden edition and the final league game of the season for secondary schools in Oyo State. The event held at the Command Day Secondary School sports complex, Ojoo, Ibadan.
The league season, which started in October 2021, was also held in other states including Lagos, Osun and Ogun and has had games between both private and public schools.
Among the schools in Oyo State are: Ibadan Grammar School; Government College, Ibadan; Gofamint High School; Command Day Secondary School, Ojoo; Brightville College, Ashi; Adem Secondary School and Abadina College. At the end of the final game, Brightville College, Ibadan football team emerged winner while Command Day Secondary School came second.
Leks Schools League is an initiative of Leks Sports NG established to create a unifying platform for secondary school students in different states to participate in football competitions. Each state was divided into conferences with the outstanding athletes competing at an end of season play offs. The league season runs according to the academic calendar of schools, providing the athletes the opportunity to balance sports and education. With the schools league, we create a mentorship program for athletes by providing support from the discovery stage and continuously educating them about potential careers in football.
The founder of the initiative, Mr Olalekan Oyinlola, who is an indigene of Ibadan but based in the United Kingdom, spoke about what inspired him to venture into grassroots sports development.
“My profession as a sports agent started about seven years ago in the United Kingdom but this programme started last year. I know Nigerians cherish football and education so I see the need to put up a defined structure for secondary school students who are at their best in both football and education and also wish to combine the two, hence the establishment of Leks Sports NG.
The company has two primary initiatives: Leks Schools League and LNG Sports Academy. While Leks Schools League is designed as an open league for secondary school students to participate in competitive football, LNG Academy seeks to develop the best of the brightest talents for potential careers in sports.”
“Oyinlola explained further that his company decided to create a pathway in grassroots sports which had never existed before, saying “The utmost aim is to create a pathway to the national teams so we are building a database of footballers that played this season, about 600 players.
In the next decade, I see all teams playing in the NPFL and at all levels in the Nigerian football having access to this database and they can scout directly from the secondary schools.
Football could be a bait to bring the unwilling to be educated. So instead of the traditional cup competitions to come and win money, I’m into talent development which takes longer but is more gratifying.”
The proprietor of the league champion, Brightville College, Ibadan, Dr Isaac Ogada, said “I thank the Leks NG management for organising the first of Schools League in Oyo State. It started last year being an experimental project, some schools dropped out on the way while some continued. It was a wonderful initiative and I am happy that at the end of the day, my school emerged the champion of the league after 21 home and away matches.”
He stressed that the league provided the opportunity to the students to improve their skills, get to know and interact with students from other schools, adding, “It has developed them, socially, emotionally, psychologically as well. In addition, some exceptional talents have been discovered which Leks NG have started working on.
“I’m happy that we started well and were consistent because this is a league, a marathon race and at the end of the day, we deserved to emerge the champion. I believe that the next league will be better because we are now better prepared.
“We are prepared for the next season and I am glad that my school is the champion of the maiden edition of Leks League and also confident that we will retain our crown as the champion,” Ogada said.
The captain of Brightville football team, Ibukun Okerounbi, spoke with excitement on behalf of his team after receiving the cup.
“We are happy to be associated with Brightville College as far as sports are concerned at the state and national levels. The school has created for us the opportunity to take our football career to the next level and most especially, glad to take after one of the current Super Eagles midfielders, Akinkunmi Amao and the like who have passed through the school and making Oyo State and Nigeria proud in the sporting world. We hope to be like these role models who will make our school, Oyo State and Nigeria proud in our career.”