*Offa centre annexed to Ondo National Athletics Development Centre
*Five to represent Nigeria in international championships in 2018
By Oluwole Francis
Sunday Oladele, the District Administrator of the Little League Inc in the North Central, has revealed the grand plans to make the states in his region to thrive in the sport especially in view of the great future that lies in wait for the sport in the country.
Oladele, a former national team player, revealed this when he paid a courtesy visit on the Director General of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI) for the “giant strides your organisation is bringing into sports development in the country.”
He congratulated the organisation for the successful implementation plans in the National Athletics Development Centre in Ondo. Your inclusion of Baseball and Softball was a great relief for the followers of the sport. More of our coaches have started to enjoy the benefits with employment and greater opportunities.”
Oladele urged the NSDFI to consider supporting us with some funds to enable us to bring into the country some of the baseball, softball and Little League equipment we had sourced in America.
He revealed further that plans have been concluded on the teams representing the nation in 2018 in various international championships. Three teams, the Moremi Little League of Offa, Owena Little League of Akure and Britarch Little League of Abuja will be travelling for the 9-12 year old championships in Poland, while the Sliders Baseball team of Ilorin will be playing in the 16 to 18 year old championships in Italy and the Sliders Softball team of Ilorin will be playing in the 13 to 16 year old championship in Netherlands.
Responding, the Director General, Mr Olajide Fashikun said, “our ambition is to bring one million children and youths into sports in three years. This informed the choice of the seven sports in the first phase of our development plans. We can’t do it alone. Communities must participate with effective roles. Parents and professionals must take their place. We shall do our best to support the teams travelling next year.
The former Zamalek SC of Egypt player revealed that, “from January, the Ondo project will commence. By February we shall move to Jos. Ebonyi or Anambra will get the centre for the South East. Zamfara will get the North West centre. Before December 2018, all the six centres would have been active.”
“I must also let you know that the Little League office has a big role to play in the League system for the seven sports on our radar. Each sport will set up their League Management Commissions. Our plan is to put about N10million as prize monies for the sports.
“The sports economy is bigger than the oil industry. We shall strive to take our nation to that Eldorado. The journey will be tedious but we shall get there with steady progress. Offa, our pilot community will be annexed to the Ondo State centre. They will benefit from the community lottery programme. Other states in the south west will also benefit.
“In preparation for these massive social revolution, we have appointed experienced coaches led by Tobias Igwe (Toblow) to marshall that sport. Other federations shall announce their technical directors as we go into implementation. By February, all the six communities in Ondo would have become active.”
Oladele presented Mr Fashikun with a pencil work in appreciation of his immense vision and support for baseball and softball development in the country.