A maximum of 10,000 athletes across the 30 local governments of Osun State are expected to participate at the first edition of the Osun Sports Festival.
This was made known by the state’s commissioner of sports, Yemi Lawal while featuring on the “Stakeholders’ Forum” of Osun chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Wednesday.
According to him, the state will in August organise its own sports festival as a means of discovering and developing grassroots athletes.
He said the state government was equally working towards reviving and promoting sports at the grassroots.
“Our sports policy, when I came on board, is youth engagement, youth empowerment and youth business.
“Gov. Gboyega Oyetola has graciously given a nod for Osun to have the State Sports Festival, to harness talents from the grassroots.
“We have been recycling same athletes for years in Osun and it is time to raise a new generation of athletes.
“By August, Osun State Sports festival will come up and a minimum of 3,000 athletes are expected to participate, with 10,000 participants expected from the 30 local government areas of the state.
“We will also be kick-starting the school games soon. We plan to revive the Principals Cup, that had been stopped for 10 years and the Headmasters’ Cup that had been suspended for 20 years.” Lawal said.
Speaking about the state-owned teams Osun United and Osun Babes, the commissioner said government was working on strategies to generate revenue for the teams.
He said one of such strategies was that of make buying of the teams’ jerseys compulsory for political office-holders in the state.
Lawal decried the situation where the state teams’ management bodies were not generating revenue for the state or the team, saying he would suggest the teams should even be privatised for effective management.
He however assured that, even with the little resources available, the state government’s efforts in sports development would soon be yielding results.