One group, 5E Concept Sports Management and Development, has joined with other stakeholders to promote the development of grassroots sport in Lagos communities.
Speaking on the programme, 5E Concepts Team Leader, Sports Management and Development Unit, Mr Anthony Obi said: “There has been a reduction in sports in community involvement, understanding of rules, passion and follow-up to the past.”
Speaking during a virtual panel discussion on “Ensuring a sustainable and peaceful future for all,” Obi said sports programs are powerful tools for grassroots development and learning, adding that “from the earliest young age, sport provides opportunities for children, including the most marginalized, to develop their physical abilities and their health, to socialize, to develop leadership skills, to foster lifelong learning and to learn and have fun.
Special guest and Head of Child Protection Network (CPN), Lagos State Chapter, Awofeso Rasheed, underscored the importance of sport for the welfare of young people, development of society and economy if it is properly improved.
Another panel member and Executive Secretary of the Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF), Ms lwalola Akin Jimoh, said that vocational training, internships and business development, especially for young people, are funded by multiple parties.
According to her, the Foundation has been able to train boys and girls in some girls’ football and taekwondo academies. Akin-Jimoh urged governments at all levels to do more in youth training and development to reduce youth unrest and various social vices.
Another speaker, the CEO of the Tswako Sports Foundation, Muhammad Sanni Tswako, said that the major problem with grassroots sport is funding and sponsorship, which do not encourage the participation, development and growth of sport in the country.
He revealed that the Abuja-based Tswako Sports Foundation focuses mainly on tennis development, providing equipment, training youngsters and encouraging the game in schools.
The Director of Speech and Games, Andrew Esangbede, advocated for the promotion of sliding sports – Scrabble, Chess and others in Yaba Community, Lagos State, in private and public schools. He said the initiative promotes extracurricular activities and inter-house indoor games, and prepares the competition for learners (amateurs) and professionals.
Tainhills Football Academy head coach Olawuyi Musheedeen said grassroots sports were no longer encouraging for many reasons, adding however that there could be a shift from policy makers.