Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Mr Sola Aiyepeku has revealed that the Lagos Principals Cup will no longer be just a football competition as six other events including volleyball and basketball will be added in the state wide competition.
This was made known at the unveiling of the Maltina School Games in partnership with the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF) on Friday afternoon.
In attendance at the unveiling were eminent sports personalities like the Nigeria Football Association (NFF) first Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi; head of the Nigeria Women’s Football League, Aisha Falode; President of the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Olabisi Joseph; 400m Olympic bronze medallist, Falilat Ogunkoya amongst others.
On the importance of school sports in talent discovery and development, the Chairman of the LSSC said “Already, myself, the Commissioner for Education and for Youth are discussing on putting sports in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools from next session.
“The reason most of us know about sports is because when we were children we were taught sports first theoretically in class so we knew the sports, we knew the rules and interest was born. And by the time you go out after school you try out different sports and find what who was talented or interested in what sport,” he said.
In addition to this, he revealed that the Commission will increase the pool of competitions starting with the Principals Cup.
“Since we were children the only sports that has been popularized apart from athletics is football and the only state wide football competition we all know is the Principals Cup. Immediately we started we put plans in place to add six more Principals Cups so hopefully from this session six more events which will include: basketball, volleyball, handball, table tennis, some measure of athletics and five-aside football will be added to the Principals Cup. This will help capture and discover more talents.”
“Also there is an association we are forming called Lagos State Secondary Schools Games Association so at the end of every year we are going to have a state wide event where these children (the top of the creme) can compete so in that way we are creating the next level and I’m so happy Maltina is providing the national level because competition breeds competence and improves the children.”
So what next after talent discovery? “Most times you find out that sports activities are just one-off events so I understand why Chief Falilat Ogunkoya is emphasising the clarion call to Maltina to ensure that this is for the long term because we can’t afford to allow these children have one-off competitions and they don’t know what next in terms of advocacy, their options in the industry or how broad the sports industry is.
“So, the LSSC alongside the NSSF are putting plans in place to ensure that these kids are educated in sports, informed about it and are exposed to different levels of competitions and opportunities that will help them learn and grow,” he added.
That said, there cannot be sports and athlete development without access to sporting facilities. Hence the Chairman revealed that the sports commission is working on building a cluster of sporting facilities around Lagos state so that when parents see their children demonstrating talents and abilities for sports then can easily make use of these facilities.
He however added that “Information is key. So we must also let the parents know that there will be security, guidance, mentorship and some level of supervision at these facilities for their wards.”