By Simeon Bankole
The sporting-loving Coordinator of the NYSC in the Sunshine State, Mrs. Victoria Nnenna Ani has charged graduate youths to develop inclusive interest in sporting activities so that the sector will continually position itself as that which has the propensity to take the youths from the street and enhance national growth.
The State Coordinator made the charge in her address during the finals of the football and volleyball competitions which culminated in the closing event on sporting activities for the 2023 Batch ‘B’ (Stream 1) orientation course.
Mrs. Ani whose stylish entry into the football arena, reminisced that of a die-hard supporter of Rangers International Club of Enugu observed that the dearth of graduate youths has been the bane of sports development in the country.
“My distinguished sports-loving enthusiasts and players, I am in a low spirit to let you know that graduates in this country are not keen on the development of the sports sector and that is why we are where we are today. The sophistication we read about or see in advanced countries are championed by those who know the nitty gritty of sports administration and management having acquired enough education that has made them stakeholders”.
“However, the reverse is the case in developing countries because those who do not see education as the key to unlocking the potential of the nation’s human resources found themselves dictating the pace in that money-spinning sector. This is the time for you to wake up so that we would not continue to lose our best hands to another clime where they don’t compromise on standards”.
She acknowledged the immense contributions and commitment of the likes of Chief Olusegun Odegbami, MON, and Barrister Adokiye Amiesamaka, MON who despite their academic qualifications stayed in Nigeria throughout their football career to develop homegrown sports.
“I am not saying those who travelled abroad are not patriotic but more graduates should show interest so that we can move up the ladder of sporting activities. Nigeria will forever cherish the sacrifice of late midfield maestro and Lawyer, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji, PhD (in view) who paid the supreme price for the country in the field of play without quest for a single kobo allowance. He personally sponsored himself to honour the national call. May the Lord bless and repose his soul”.
She continued, ‘If 1989 seems unregistered in your psyche, I am happy to let you know that one of the Super Falcons defenders currently playing the 2023 edition of FIFA World Cup in Australia, Michelle Alozie has a degree in Molecular Biology from Yale University and equally playing professional soccer with Houston Dash Football Club, USA. The acquired education has taken them far and you need to develop this mindset to build a career in sports’ she explained.
The NYSC Ondo State boss used the platform to admonish the parents to encourage their children and wards who desire a career in sports but with a caveat that they should acquire sound education before treading in that footpath.
“Dr. Felix Owolabi, who was regarded as a Marshal left winger during his playing days in the national team then known as Green Eagles and Industrial Investment Credit Corporation which later metamorphosed into Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan is a doctorate degree holder and today, he is still very much relevant in sports administration in this country. Education is the only key that can unlock potential and the gifted and talented young sports lovers should be educated as we have in Sports Academy abroad”.
She told the participating players that NYSC has in place NYSC Director General Sports and Cultural Competition to scout and identify individuals who can represent and make the country proud in international competitions.
The Head, the Sports and Games Committee, Mrs. Martha Ihenyen acknowledged the God factor which made the two weeks competition seamless and without any serious injury to either the players, the fans and the spectators.
Mrs. Ihenyen, who is an Assistant Director/Head of, Community Development Service (CDS) Branch thanked the State Coordinator for his generosity, and magnanimity and for identifying with the Committee physically throughout the duration of the Inter-Platoon sporting activities.
The agile Head of Sports and Games also appreciated the camp officials for diverting their attention towards the sporting activities while it lasted and thanked all the corps members for their untiring spirit which made the whole exercise an outstanding success.
At the end of the hostilities in the football finals, number 7 platoon edged out number 9 platoon by 5 goals to 2 while in volleyball, number 2 platoon defeated number 7 platoon by two sets to one. The consolation third place went to number 4 platoon in football while in volleyball, number 5 platoon completed the first three.