22 December 2012

Nigeria: Yobe's Giant Strides in Sports


"It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret" Jackie Joyner Kersee, American athlete and Olympic Gold Medalist.

For years, the commitment of Yobe State government towards sports development, had show-cased and, fed national teams with world class players in events like hockey and handball.

The representation of Nigeria by the state's clubs in continental and international tournaments depicts the rich potentials that abound in the state.

For Alhaji Yusuf Yahaya, the state commissioner for sports, the inspirational statement by Jackie Kersee, tallies with the vision and mission of Yobe government towards developing sports and athletes for a brighter future to sporting activities and individual athletes in the state.

It is gratifying to note that Yobe government's taking over of the multi- purpose indoor sports hall initiated by the National Sports Commission and, the plan to complete the edifice for use would propel sports development to promote peace, unity and employment opportunities.

When completed, the facility will provide youth in the state with the opportunity of exploiting their potentials in indoor sports events to compete favourably in national and international tournaments.

According to the commissioner, "Yobe government and the National Sports Commission, had completed the handing and taking over process of the indoor sports hall to facilitate commencement of work, completion of the project and, put to use for the benefit of sports development in the state".

The sports commissioner also declared that "Yobe government is determined to complete the structure and put it to use for the benefit of sports development and, individual sports athletes in the state".

It is undoubtedly a great leap as government embarks on development of sports facilities in the three zones of the state with, the initial take off of the Gaidam Sports Center. This initiative will certainly boost grassroot sporting across the state.

Government said it has already expended the sum of N59m on the first phase of the project which includes fencing, sitting segment, football pitch, offices and toilets.

The plan to constructing additional two sports centers in the other two zones of the state will exploit the rich abundant potentials in the rural areas.

In the past, there were great football players in the likes of Ba'aba and late AuduKwanaye in Potiskum. Gaidam paraded the likes of Grema, Mustapha and Sani 'Okala' and, a host of others across the state but, were not so lucky to be exposed and encouraged to play professional football.

This giant stride of providing sporting facilities at the grassroots by government will expose the potentials in individual sportsmen and athletes with the hope of becoming professionals for gainful employment and unity of the people.

The newly renovated VIP lodge, construction of additional shades and toilets at the Damaturu stadium also demonstrates the promotion of sports in the state.

It is commendable that Government is putting more effort in promotion of sports among youth in the state to realize and develop their potentials to compete in local, national and international events and, to prepare them for professional sporting.

The commissioner argued that "the completion of the multi-purpose sports hall, construction of the zonal sports centers as well as, provision of sports equipment is a new approach to boosting sports development in the state and fighting unemployment".

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