By Gbenga Adeleye
Nigerian foremost sports journalist, Olatoye Olawale has bagged the prestigious ‘Outreach award’ from the Nigeria Soccer Federation, United States of America (NSF-USA).
Olawale, who is the Director, Sportflames Communications and NSF-USA Coordinator in Nigeria, was awarded for his efforts in the development of grassroots football in the country as well as his efforts in distributing COVID-19 relief materials to about 400 grassroots players in Lagos in a bid to cushion the effects of the Covid-induced economic crisis on the players.
Speaking on the award, Olawale expressed his profound gratitude to the leadership of the Nigeria Soccer Federation-USA for conferring the award on him the prestigious award,
He also appreciated all those who have contributed to his dream and success over the years for their support, encouragement and guidance.
This was contained in his appreciation statement.
The statement reads, “I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Nigeria Soccer Federation for this Award, sincerely I am humbled and motivated, with a burning desire to do more for Football Development in Nigeria and diaspora.
“Let me use this medium to congratulate the Champions of this year, it’s really a deserved one and also the Match Commissioner Fatai Atere (M.O.N) for putting together a befitting Tournament.
My appreciation goes to my President Dr. Adetunji Aderemi NSF-USA thank you for your time and support, you are indeed a true Leader, to my Vice President NSF – USA Austin Okonkwo, don’t even know what to say about you, you made yourself available during the process of the Visa, but so disappointing that we have to wait till next year, thank you so much for the opportunity for service to humanity, I love you so much sir.
“To my One and Only Brother, Father, Uncle, Boss and Mentor Coach Richard Opanuga, you are indeed a Man, many might not understand your Philosophy of life but what matters most is the destination, you try to see differently, think out of the Box and make sure everyone is happy around you, even denying yourself happiness, it all started some years back, struggling as a player, you tried your best for me to play internationally but didn’t work out, you keep pushing me hard to be dogged, tenacious and never give up, at a point I actually wanted to quit but you are seeing possibilities, while I’m seeing difficulties, Aunty Ronke Opanuga is amazing also, your role is superb, thank you so much for your unflinching support and Love. I dedicate this Award to Mr. & Mrs. Richard Opanuga, they really deserve it.
Back here in Nigeria, I want to say a big thank you to my Sportflames team, they really have been supportive. Everyday they do more for Nigerian football as it’s our mission that we must put smiles on the faces of those that need our support.
Finally to my loving wife, thank you so much for your support and understanding throughout the journey, you have never for once complained, even when I have to travel for weeks or come back home late in the night, your prayers and believe are key to this achievement.
“The award is a massive one for us and it shows that our hard work is being recognized by Nigerians living in the diaspora and that’s a new challenge to us to doing more than what we have done in the past.
“To all Nigeria Soccer Federation Executives and Members, thank you so much for the opportunity granted to showcase the Gods’ given talents, The global recognition is not for me I must say, we hope to do more in the nearest future, the Award is absolutely a task for us never to relent in our efforts to effect that change in the Football Industry.”
Nigeria Soccer Federation, USA who annually celebrates Nigeria’s Independence in the diaspora with a football tournament, could not hold one last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, rather they channelled their resources to giving out relief packages back here in Nigeria, as a way of cushioning the effect of the novel virus on grassroot players in Ikeja and Surulere Local Government.