Speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the government and the consultants on the project, Youth and Sports Commissioner, Hon. Moroof Afolabi Afuwape said the Amosu administration was committed to making the state “the factory of sports stars in Nigeria”.
“The administration has upgraded the sport infrastructure in the state to first-class status and no state in Nigeria boasts of what we have at our stadiums and we have the technocrats. What remains for us is to bring in the private sector to drive first-class competitions. The GT Principals Cup and OGSSFEST are the pioneering efforts in this regard,” he said.
The commissioner said the government believes success in sports is connected to age and that sports super stars needed to be caught and nurtured very young.
“It is of no use discovering a football, tennis or athletics star in his or her late 20s. Most sports thrive on the ‘catch them young’ and now that sports is big business, we also see OGSSFEST as a way of fighting crime and unemployment in the land,” he explained.
Afuwape called on corporate organizations and philanthropists to embrace OGSSFEST “not just as corporate social responsibility but in order to reap heaps of marketing advantages as over 4,000 kids will participate in the yearly competition.”
In his response, the Managing Director of Newswatch Times Magazine, Dr. Bolu John Folayan, said the competition would be the first of its kind in Nigeria and perhaps in Africa.
He said a consortium of sports marketing and sports media experts are coming together to complement the state government’s initiative, not just to discover the stars of tomorrow but to also nurture them to stardom and make them financially self-sustaining.
Dr. Folayan commended the Amosu administration on the initiative and expressed confidence that the festival would fulfill its objectives.
Eight sports – athletics, table tennis, football, handball, basketball, scrabble, chess and volleyball – will be featured in the maiden edition of the competition. Preliminaries will begin in March and run through zonal and divisional contests in May-June while the four-day grand finale will take place in November.