By Sedara Oluwadara
•••As Dele Ajayi assures development of grassroots talents
The Committee vested with the success of the Bet9ja Ondo State Football League,organised by Ondo State Football Association, says over 80 teams has shown interest in participating in the competition when it fully takes off.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Yomi Seriki, in his speech at the unveiling and launch of the Logo for the league in Akure said the committee had concluded a statewide tour to sensitise various stakeholders about the league.
Seriki said that:”Registration will be for a period of two weeks and envisage that nothing less than eighty (80) football teams at the grassroots, across the state, to register for the inaugural league.
“After registration, the teams,will be divided into groups and then the league will commence.
“At the end of the first stage, the winner and the runners up from each group will converge in Akure for the grand finale, it is from the engagement between the teams that the state champion will finally emerge.
“The league will be run and managed according to the statutes of FIFA through the Nigerian Football Federation and we have obligations to our title sponsors, bet9ja, the foremost sports betting company in Nigeria, and we will fulfill all our commitments to them in words and in spirit.”
Also, Ondo State Deputy Governor,Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in his address, urged Ondo State Football Association, that the Bet9ja Ondo State Football League, should ensure future champions and players for clubs, especially,for Sunshine Stars, be produced through the competition.
Aiyedatiwa who was represented by the General Manager, Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA), Mr Akin Akinbobola, commended the state football association for re-awakening the state league which had been docile.
He said that the league would encourage football activities across the 18 local government areas, as the state league would identify talents for national and international engagements.
He used the occasion to call on high spirited individuals and philanthropists to invest more on grassroots football to harness potentials of talents in the 18 council areas.
“This is laudable, this the beginning of grassroots league. I commend state FA for the noble and laudable initiative which would afford the talents abound in the state showcase themselves.
“Competitions have been organised in the state before now,but I must say this Bet9ja competition is novel, well structured, I pray for the success of the bet9ja competition.
“Our government will continue to support any initiative driven towards development of our youths at the grassroots,”he said.
Aiyedatiwa called on well to do individuals to invest more in the development of football in the state.
Earlier, the Chairman,Ondo State Football Association, Otunba Dele Ajayi, said the state football league would provide a pool of talents for clubs in the state to tap from.
Ajayi said scouts would be brought for the competition,as he appreciated Bet9ja for coming to the aid of the association in terms of development of grassroots football.
“The committee needs your cooperation. We were voted in last year and all our programmes have been successful and I appreciate my board members for their support and cooperation,” he said.
Other sports administrators including the Chairman, house committee on youths and sports development, Olugbenga Omole assured the FA of budgetary allocation to fund the association for excellence.