By Femi Atolagbe
The Commissioner for Commerce and industry in Ondo state, Otunba Timehin Adelegbe has said that grassroots football remained the best veritable tool to take our youths off the streets.
Adelegbe made the statement at the Housing Cooperation field, Ijapo, during the kick off of the 2nd edition of the inter-club competition organised by Ijapo Allstar football Club, Akure, adding that if grassroots football is well developed, most of raw talented youths will be caught young and be useful for themselves, the state and the country at large.
The Commissioner charged youths to be the best in their career, saying discipline and dedication should be their watchword.
Also speaking at the football arena, the Director of Finance and Administration , Ondo State Property, Development Corporation, Mr Tunde Ogunbowo, said he always feel at home whenever he see youths displaying their God gifted skill.
“We must carry this competition beyond this level, the awareness must go beyond here, the whole Ijapo has not captured, there is need to bring in as many as football clubs to this football arena, let us keep our youths busy, with what i’m seeing here , there are a lot of sunshine materials abound here”.
The former football captain said, it is high time we reached out to the management of Ondo state football agency in the state, let us call their attention to this place, some of the youth playing on this field can do well if their talent is well managed.
Ogungbowo said he played alongside Henry Nwosu and many other international footballers in Lagos before he was discovered.
Let intensify more effort on our awareness in other not to waste the talent of these young men.
The president of the club, Mr Gbenga Akinmoyo ESq, who appreciated the management committee and the entire member of the club for their support for the success of the six-week tournament.
According to the UK based football Administrator, against all odds, in a city of Akure where a lot of people postulated that it was not possible to organise the youth together this way, we had 15 members taking part in each of the five teams.
” I have to concede that the best team in the competition (Bologna FC) won, they won at the group stage and they won though narrowly in a very tensed final, they defeated the second runner up Deportivo FC 1 goal to nill, in the final is a good victory”.
The best goal keeper and the highest goals scorer also went to the duo of Bologna FC players in person of Ayotunde Otunla while kashimawo Babalola won the golden glove as the best goal keeper of the tournament .
The president of the club use the medium to call used all and sundry to support grass roots football which is the best way to expose the young ones who want to sow their seeds by playing football and we are using competition like this to expose them.
“We encourage the youth to embrace this summer competition and to be level headed in what they do , because you don’t know who is watching you and to the general public mum and dad, uncle and Aunts especially in the neighborhood to come out and support this competition and embrace what we are doing”.
The Team manager of the club ,Mr Femi Atolagbe said the round leather game is a unifying factor that brings youth together irrespective of their backgrounds, adding that during football matches is when Nigerians speak in one voice be it Hausa, Ibo or Yoruba.
To this end , he called on all football lovers both in government and in private sectors to invest more in football to make the dream of many of our youths a reality.