Students, teachers and school sport officials at the indoor sports hall of the National Stadium, Lagos, got an unexpected gift from the new patron of Nigerian School Sports Federation (NSSF), Chief Yemi Idowu, yesterday. The occasion was Idowu’s investiture as NSSF patron, but the students and their officials got more than they hoped for.

The event was part of activities at the ongoing Nestle Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship, which had yesterday set aside for cultural displays by the schools from different parts of the country.

Reacting after his decoration by NSSF President, Olabisi Joseph, Idowu expressed his joy at receiving the honour, adding that it has added wings to his collaboration with the school sports body. He said: “One of the reasons I accepted the offer to be NSSF patron is that we will join hands to find ways of bringing funds to school sports.

“Very soon, we will sit down to align the schools sports calendar with holidays and school activities to make it easier for students to participate in the activities.

“We have short, medium and long-term goals, beginning with a school football competition, which final will hold in November at the refurbished Maracana Stadium, Ajegunle, Lagos. The plan is to ensure that students experience sports at different levels.”

Earlier, NSSF President, Mrs. Joseph described Idowu as a strong supporter of school sports, saying his involvement in grassroots sports development endeared him to the federation.

Joseph said: “As a distinguished sports personality and a prominent figure in the Nigerian sporting landscape, your vast experience in the sports industry, your dedication to promoting sports at the grassroots level, coupled with your philanthropic initiatives, has positively impacted the lives of many aspiring athletes. Your association with our federation will undoubtedly inspire and motivate our young athletes to achieve excellence.

“Your dedication to sports, unwavering support for young athletes, and commitment to the development of sports in Nigeria have made you an ideal candidate for this prestigious role.”

As NSSF patron, Joseph said Idowu is expected to be instrumental in shaping the future of sports in Nigeria, as well as support in developing strategies to enhance the quality of sporting and educational programmes; securing sponsorships for events and expanding the reach of the federation.

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