The Executive Chairman of the Edo State Sports Commission, Mr. Yusuf Ali, has declared the commission’s readiness and confidence at delivering and producing at least 10,000 athletes every year in Edo State in fulfillment of the mandate of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Ali said that, he believes strongly that given the passion the Governor has for sports development in Edo and the level of support he has enjoyed so far from the state’s Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon Philip Shaibu, Edo sports will most definitely witness a rebirth in the coming years.
The former Team Nigeria captain to International events, noted that: “What has pleased me most since I resumed this appointment as Executive Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, is the sheer passion and love Mr. Governor has for sports. He has a deep understanding of the social and economic benefits sports can bring to the society and he’s very determined to ensure that those benefits are enjoyed by the young people of Edo State.
“His goal is to see thousands of Edo state-born athletes dominate sports locally and internationally and at same time change their own fortunes and those of their families and above all that of Edo State in the near future through sports.”
Yusuf Ali a former long jumper who held the African record in the event for over 27 years, stressed that : “The immediate mandate Governor Godwin Obaseki gave me is to design a programme that would produce at least 10,000 athletes in Edo State every year. To meet this objective, he has promised to give the Edo State Sports Commission, the desired supports to deliver on this huge but achievable task.
“Given our youth population which is in millions, this task is achievable. As we speak, I have already fashioned out a programme to deliver on this mandate and will be sharing the details later immediately Mr. Governor approves.
“The social and economic activities that will be unleashed as we pursue this goal makes it a worthy cause. The number of quality trainers that would adequately train these athletes, with the needed facilities will be developed and refurbished such that the thousands of youths that we will be engaged and provided new opportunities for locally and internationally as we pursue this goal will all create dominant effects that will positively affect every facets of lives in Edo State and create unprecedented value for our people.”
Ali, noted that plans are in place to return Edo State back to its pre-eminent place in Nigerian sports.
“Edo State has always been known to be the bedrock of sports in Nigeria. From producing star athletes to legacy competitions like Ogbe Harcourt Tennis tournament and to facilities like the Afuze Training Camp, a first of its kind in Africa, this is a state that breathes and lives sports.
Governor Obaski is determined to bring back glory days of sports in the state. We are working on a robust plan to optimize the investments Governor Obaseki has made over the past years in building international sports facilities as we continue to repair and refurbish more facilities across the state. We want sports facilities in every parts of the state in the next few years so that our young people can easily practice and compete anywhere they are.
“With this platform, Edo State will then resume hosting national, regional and even global competitions here in Edo.
We have already demonstrated our capacity to host big events with the excellent hosting of the National sports festivals and playing host to competitive international matches national, like those of the Senior men’s soccer team and the women junior national soccer teams.
“We want to build on all these successes and even create new momentum to propel Edo State sports to the top not just in Nigeria, but in Africa.”