Opinion: How Hon. Michael Awopetu Has Changed Ekiti Sports For Good

The tsunami of development that has rapidly hit sports in Ekiti State can not be over emphasized since Hon. Michael Awopetu took office as the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development.

Hon. Awopetu on assuming office immediately hit the ground running with his developmental plan which has of today translated into results that has cut across the various sporting association in the State.

The Ogotun-born astute sports administrator with his individual touch of brilliance has relaunched sport to an enviable height not only within the State but both national and global conciousness.

Grassroots sports and age grade tournaments across the length and breadth of the State has enjoyed massive support under his (Awopetu) aupices and the discovery of untapped talents.

Under his watch, the State wrote her name in history at the National Sports Festival, Edo 2020 by finishing in the 23rd position out of the 36 States and the FCT in the medals table with 2 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze medal.

Hon. Awopetu worked assiduously to ensure athletes from the State rise to global conciousness with Bamidele Ajayi heroics who won the 4×400 Relay Mixed Gold at the U20 athletics Championship in Kenya, Nairobi along side Chidera Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse and Deborah Oke in a championship record of 3:19.70.

The need to further make fund available for sports in the State, Hon. Awopetu was at the forefront of establishing the Ekiti State Sports Development Trust Fund, ESDTS which came to been late last year aimed at unearthing the dearth in the development of sportsmen and sports equipment which is gradually taking effect on sports in the State.

“We’ve discovered that there are a lot of gaps in terms of funding of athletes and infrastructural deficit that are needed to be brigded which the Trust Fund will address,” Awopetu said during the inauguration of the Trust Fund Board which he chairs.

The impact of the current administration on sports development has brigded the gap of what was obtainable some years back with no major achievement and successes recorded in sports sector.

With the support of the State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Hon. Awopetu has facilitated the inclusion of States athletes’ in national teams, Tolulope Ojo (Flying Eagles), Bello Babatunde (Super Eagles) and Afuye Kehinde (U-17 Flamingos).

Tolulope Ojo and Babatunde Bello who have one time in their careers represented the State club, Ekiti United F.C.

Without the rejuvenation of Ekiti United, there wouldn’t be recognition for these two sons of Ekiti, Tolulope Ojo who is currently with Remo Stars played a major at the just concluded U20 WAFU B Championship in Niger where he scored a brace in the final game against Benin Republic to hand Nigeria the title.

Babatunde Bello who now plies his trade with Akwa United just returned from the USA with the National Team (Super Eagles) after two round of friendly games against Mexico and Ecuador.

Recently, Ekiti Queens goalkeeper, Afuye Kehinde was called up to the National U-17 Women camp in preparation for India 2022 World Cup.

The Commissioner did not rest on it oars but played a major role in Ayodeji Ayeni coaching career when he brought him to Ekiti United without anyone recommendation and today, Ayodeji Ayeni is with the current Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Akwa United after a short stinct with Sunshine Stars FC.

The successes recorded by Ekiti United can not be swept under the carpet with the club finishing second in the Nigeria National League, NNL B1 Southern Conference and making it to the Super 8 tournament for the first time in the club history where it fell short to qualify for the elite football league (NPFL).

Awopetu relentless effort to see more youths engaged in sport facilitated the creation of Ekiti Queens FC and Ekiti United feeders team to groom players for the first team, Ekiti United.

Hon. Michael Awopetu effort did not go unnoticed as he was presented with an award of excellence for his numerous achievement and successes recorded in the sports sector by the Broadcasting Services of Ekiti State, BSES.

This not withstanding the astute sports administrator has written his name in gold in Ekiti sports and beyond.

Gbenga Adeleye,
Media Aide to the Hon. Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Ekiti State.

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