*Offa professionals youths have to key into 27,000 spaces for volunteers – Tinuoye
*List of coaching staff released officially
By Ayo Fasanmi, Offa
Former African champion in Table Tennis, coach Kasali Lasisi, who was recently appointed as the National Technical Director for ping pong on the flagship project of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI)’s project has assured the people and children in Offa to look forward as the next generation of the players of the game.
Kasali who was in Offa on Friday to finalise all the arrangements for the start of the training of children on the Basic Olympic Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST) project which will commence on Monday 16th January said, “this is the future of our nation.”
Lasisi was received by Messrs Tinuoy Niyi, the Organising Secretary, his deputy, Suleiman Ajeigbe, the NSDFI Administrative Manager, Mrs. Adejoke Bamidele.
After inspecting the schools, he was satisfied and told his hosts, “we shall be training children in primary and secondary schools. These children will be the next best things to happen to Nigerian Table Tennis. I am so fulfilled that this is happening in my time and I am privileged to be a part of the team delivering this project from birth.”
Lasisi commended the NSDFI for this great initiative. From January 2018, the children who would have benefitted from the training will start to play in a league at home with N3million prize money. By January 2019, the National Table Tennis League with N10million prize money will be up.”
The former national coach of Democratic Republic of Congo added, “with an organized system like this, you can have young boys and girls who can become millionaires just for playing table tennis before the age of 10 or 12.”
“What trips me the most is that every child on this programme must combine academic and sports. Umpires, recorders, statisticians, reporters etc will be trained along the line. No less than 3,000 direct and indirect employment spaces will be generated to support this programme.”
Quickly, it is important to thank Chief Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin who brought this honour to the Offa community. It is most paramount to also thank the Offa community led by His Royal Highness, the Olofa of Offa for accepting the idea. That has placed the community on the map of career prospects for thousands of their children. I congratulate you.”
Responding, the Organising Secretary, Mr Niyi Tinuoye, a proficient badminton player, said, “as a community we thank God this project took root in Offa. For us, we shall do everything to make the project work. We are aware of the enormous gains inherent for our children. For professionals living and non resident in Offa, this is an opportunity to join the volunteer team.”
The last time the General Manager of NSDFI came and said “27,704 professionals will be needed to support and deliver this project nationwide, it did not make a sense to us until we started understanding the nitty gritty. Every child on this programme is entitled to a minimum of three officials. With a one million target in four years, with Offa being the first in the nation, every child in every home from age 5 to 18 will be encouraged to seize this great opportunity.”
Mrs Bamidele in her response said, “being a part of the movement that will return Nigeria to international glory in the eight sports for Offa is a blessing. Four sports will commence training on Monday. They are weightlifting, handball, table tennis and baseball.
“Let me also state that, the coaches coming to Offa are sincerely the very best in the nation. Nigeria’s most successful handball cadet coach at the moment Isiaka Atanda is here. Nigeria’s national team baseball coach who has won two All African Games silver medals, Olajide Abidoye, is confirmed. Ladipo Omole, the silent revolutionary worker is here in weightlifting with national coach and Technical Director for the Sport, Chris Nwajei.
Whereas, in table tennis, we are having the National Technical Director, Kasali Lasisi leading two of the most outstanding cadet coaches, Solomon Olajide Olurinnishola and Yakubu Ibrahim. Ain’t we lucky in Offa?”
She thanked the Offa Descendants Union for being a “most wonderful hosts. They have been so great. Their interests in beyond words. They have made our entry into Offa just seamless. Tireless worker, Mr Muideen Ibrahim and Suleiman Shoba Ajeigbe.”