*Chief Onyali delivers unique support for children on the project
*OGS, St Claires Principals endorse BOOST project
*400 children storm table tennis programme
By Adejoke Bamidele, Suleiman Ajeigbe, Offa
Offa community has gone agog with one week of training for children on the Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin community sports project. Four sports has taken off the ground with table
tennis receiving over 100 children on the debut which scared the Technical Director, Kasali Lasisi, “if at this rate we can cope with the number of children wanting to be part of the programme.”
Reacting in his first week analysis, coach Kasali said, “our programme started in a big way. My thanks to the sports crew of Okin FM Offa. Those guys are great. After my early morning appearance, there was commotion. The turn out was overwhelming. Our problem is now space because the turn out is too much.”
According to coach Kasali, “we are taking the programme to schools while we have the centre where children come. The charge from parents, teachers, principals and even the children is challenging. We have almost 400 children in all the places we’ve been to.
With coach Olajide Abidoye and Influence Gwede taking charge of the baseball and softball programme. They started with St. Claire’s Grammar School where most of the kids were so enthused learning a new and interesting sport.
Nigeria’s best cadet coach, whose team are the current U-12 and U-15 male and female national champions, Isiaka Atanda, he is eyeing of “raising the next national U-12 kids, male and female, from Offa. This will be taking him to St. Claires, Federal Polytechnic demonstration school and Offa Grammar school.
Weightlifting coach, Oladipo Omole, is putting finishing touches to the infrastructure for training facilities. So many pressures are coming from both parents and the children for the training to commence.
Offa Organising Secretary, Mr Niyi Tinuoye said, “Tawakalitu Grammar School Offa broke the jinx and set the records with two teachers registering as the first set of our volunteers. The community has been receiving the programme with enthusiasm. School heads are asking for the coaches to bring the programme to their schools.”
He added that, “Mr Olumide Soleye blazed te trail by being the first person in te community to register as a volunteer while
Mr. Kayode Oguntoye is the second volunteer to register with the BOOST.”
In all, the first week was such that is encouraging. The coaches were so comfortable and satisfied with the situation on ground. Only coach Omole is yearning to take off with his training. The handball is one where so many o the children are already feeling like champions already given the profile of the cerebral coach.”
Executive Director (Technical) and former five-time Olympian, Chief Mary Onyali (MFR) situated the entire plan saying, “I am so happy that all the weeks of planning has come forth in a very great way. With the
kind of homey reception the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, Okikiola Esuwoye II, gave us and challenged us with, I knew we are in for a great time here.”
My wish is to find some of the folks from this community finding his or herself in Tokyo 2020. Not necessarily on the podium but for the fact of qualifying for the event. Waiting for that to happen.”
Earlier, a team of BOOST visited Offa Grammar School where the principal, Alhaji Abdulwahab Ibiyeye praised the vision behind the project. This is what we had felt had been missing over the years.
Personally, I am so thrilled because you also made the programme school-based. Two, kudos to Chief Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin for rewarding the good gesture of our brother, Dr Kola Olafimihan of Olalomi Hospital. When he was alive, all athletes from our college get free treatment resulting from sports in his hospital. I am not surprised how he helped Chief Ogbeifo-Balofin when he had the opportunity. On behalf of the Offa community, we appreciate her choice to honour him even in death.”
For us in OGS, we are so appreciative you considered our college to benefit from the programme. You will only be replanting the kind of seed we are known for. Our college had produced great athletes like Ahmed ‘Atinga Woma’ Yahaya, Ahmed Adio, Sunday James (volleyball), amongst a long list of great stars.
Principal of St. Claire’s Anglican Girl Grammar School, Mrs Grace Abiodun Falokun, herself a former athlete danced and praised God for this vision coming to not only Offa but to her school. I had dreamt for a community wide opportunity to bring a new generation of athletes from here. I have seen several talented young girls graduate from this school with no room for being nurtured into world stars.
She praised the initiative of Chief Onyali which her school will specially benefit, the concept of the “Lets go, Girls” targeted at supporting girls on this programme is most welcome. I am also happy that our school will be the first in the nation to enjoy the support structure.”
Myself, on behalf of the college, and our very warm and hard working staffers will be willing to work with you as volunteers, working to help the children from here combining sports and education in a most profitable manner. Yours is coming at a time when most female athletes do not have education to support their talents in sports.
I use to tell my students that education makes you super but talent makes you a star and when you combine the two well, it makes you a Super Star. This is the bridge you have helped us to cross so easily and we shall tap effectively into the opportunities. God bless those who thought about this and brought it to Offa.”
“However, the first 10 children in primary school to register for the project have won for themselves designer Yali-Yali Tee-shirts courtesy of Chief Mary Onyali. By the end of the month, after the coaches assessments, the best male and female in each of the sports will get a Yali-Yali foot wears. This is my personal contribution,” said Chief Mary Onyali in a statement.