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Benue FA Clear The Air Over Lobi Stars’ Controversy



The leadership of the Benue State Football Association (BSFA) has clearly stated that it is only committed to ensuring the development of the round leather game at all times without interfering in the day-to-day activities of any club.

BSFA Chairman, Barr. Paul Edeh, in a terse statement on Monday, August 28, 2023, urged stakeholders in Benue, particularly in the football arena to exercise restraint, be patient and tolerant as the current administration led by Governor Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia will at the right time consider most appropriate decision regarding Lobi Stars.

Making reference to recent happenings, Barr. Edeh, who since assumption into office emphasised massive grassroots football development said, “I have for the past few days read with fascination the arguments on this platform regarding the leadership of Lobi Stars FC arising from the stakeholders’ meeting held by His Excellency, Rev Fr Dr Hycenth Alia last week with Lobi Stars stakeholders.

“I have also been inundated with calls and messages seeking to know the Benue State Football Association (BSFA) position on the issue.

“The position of the BSFA is that the matter at hand is the internal affairs of Lobi Stars FC, which is an affiliate of the BSFA like every other club in the state.

“The BSFA under my watch will not interfere with the internal affairs of any of its affiliates, including Lobi Stars FC, especially when its opinion is not sought. However, we will offer guidance and advice when called upon to do so as a body responsible for administering football in the state.”

The veteran football administrator stressed, “The BSFA will continue to maintain its independence in football matters in Benue State and protect the sanctity of its statutes and that of the NFF.

“Furthermore, the BSFA under my watch will continue to insist on cordiality amongst all football stakeholders in the State and encourage all members of the Benue Football Family to please identify and promote what unites us as stakeholders which will lead to the development of the game so we can together put Benue State back in the Nigerian Football map once again.”

He also appealed that, “We must eschew from verbal abuses and stalking each other when we voice our opinions. We must understand that it is our divergence that most often brings out the best in us and makes us much stronger as critical stakeholders. Hence, when we ventilate our grievances, let’s not do so to the point of being disrespectful to one another. Let’s focus more on ideas that will promote football in our dear state. This was the point of the Stakeholders meeting that the BSFA Board organised in Makurdi a few weeks ago.

“There is no way we can move football forward in Benue State with the discordant tunes sung for the past few days. It is clear to me that there are challenges bedeviling football in Benue State, wounds have been inflicted in the past, a lot of us have been trampled upon and we all want football in the State administered better. I will continue to appeal to all aggrieved individuals to please trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel and crave the indulgence of all stakeholders to please trust the Board under my watch that we will change the narrative of football in Benue State and make the State the pride of football again.”

The BSFA boss further urged all football stakeholders to instead of unnecessary bickering, focus on issues that will move Benue football development forward.

He said, “As the saying goes, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Let’s desist from washing our dirty linen in public and be conscious of the fact that the internet does not forget issues that are brought to public space. Let us together build and grow the game. Let it start from this point forward and not backward. Let’s rechannel our energy towards promoting the game from the grassroots to the centre.

“As all well-meaning stakeholders of Lobi Stars and the general public await the final verdict of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hycenth Alia …, I admonish and urge that all concerned Benue Football Family sheathe their swords on this matter and continue to hope for the best for Lobi Stars FC and support the decision that His Excellency will consider most appropriate for the Club given the circumstance. Irrespective of where the pendulum swings …., we must continue to join hands together as Benue Football Family to support Lobi Stars FC as the pride of Benue State to succeed regardless of the storms.”

He reassured of the resolve of BSFA to maintain an open-door approach for all to make meaningful contributions geared towards the upliftment of football in the state.

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We have a modern sports administration in Lagos – Aiyepeku




Sports administration has moved beyond the outdated rhetoric that characterizes the Nigerian system and inevitably leaves the country behind when results do not match inputs.

However, things have become different in Lagos over time, especially since the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the helm of the Lagos State Sports Commission is ensuring that round pegs are put in round holes.

The duo of Mr. Sola Aiyepeku, Executive Chairman and Mr. Oluwatoyin Gafaar, Director General of the Sports Commission are goal scorers and technocrats in sports administration.

There has been synergy between the Sports Commission and other stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors in order to drive the THEMES agenda of Governor Sanwo-Olu.

Chairman Aiyepeku gave an insight into how sports is being run in the Centre of Excellence on Wednesday when he was the guest of over 300 journalists covering the ongoing 7th National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State. The Youth Games has witnessed a high influx of sporting media since its inception at the Asaba 2023.

Aiyepeku told the journalists that he was ready for any jab of questions from the sportswriters, as he knows his onions when it comes to facing the inquisitiveness of sporting media as he was on media practitioner.

The session at the media centre of the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba was very entertaining, informative and educative as some of the journalists later confessed to Independent News Express.

Aiyepek took the time to explain to the journalists how sports are practiced in Lagos State. According to him, the administration lacks the old-fashioned style.

He stressed that as an administrator who has seen it all in the world of sport and traveled near and far, he knows that modern ways of working deliver results.

He revealed how the Sports Commission has integrated over 400 games masters and mistresses from educational districts in Lagos State into a modern school sports system by given them retraining at a recent workshop.

“It was a kind of revolution because we showed them the best sports practices. Not only have we equipped them to carry out their active-duty duties, but we have also equipped them with knowledge so that they can be useful to the society and their families after their service,” Aiyepeku said.

He also revealed what the state is doing to ensure that no sport is left behind.

“We value development, which essentially means giving everyone a sense of belonging. We have also managed to separate and classify these sports so we can focus on the results.

“We don’t necessarily want to win at all costs like other states do, but we want to advance the development agenda. According to us at the Lagos State Sports Commission, we are not desperate as we see these youth games as a talent scouting program,” he added.

He said that the Sports Commission also places a strong emphasis on development, as many of Lagos’ athletes benefit from some form of grant to help them prepare for and compete in tournaments without stress.

Aiyepeku stressed that Lagos is a breeding ground for athletes and will continue to be at the forefront of ensuring the comprehensive development of athletes.

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Sports Minister Excited About Young Talents Emerging From National Youth Games




The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has expressed his delight over the number of emerging talents being discovered at the ongoing National Youth Games, taking place in Asaba, Delta State.

Senator Enoh stated that the Games stays true to its purpose of providing a platform for young talents to be unearthed.

He noted that talents are not in short supply in the country, what is needed is the platform for visibility. He stressed that the ministry is not oblivious of this need, and his administration is determined to make available these platforms across the federation.

“This edition of the National Youth Games has given visibility to very talented kids that represent the future of our sports as a nation. Availability of talents has never been a problem for our sports, but instead, the provision of platforms for these talents to be seen has remained our Achilles heel,” the Minister said. “This administration is committed to ensuring that platforms are available for budding stars, especially in our rural areas.”

“While our elite athletes continue to make us proud, we want to guarantee the future by creating a production pipeline for emerging talents to come through, transition, get nurtured and collect the baton when the time is right on the elite stage,” Senator Enoh concluded.

At the end of Day 6, Delta State remained top of the medals table with 36 Gold, 25 Silver and 23 Bronze medals. Lagos State sits second with 18 Gold, 12 Silver, and 15 Bronze medals, while Edo State occupies the third spot with 17 Gold, 12 Silver, and 13 Bronze medals.

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Lagos Cycling Gold Medalist Canvasses For Regular National Tourneys To Keep Athletes In Top Form




The need to have regular local competitions is necessary to keep the athletes, especially the young boys and girls, who are outstanding in the National Youth Games in their top form and busy out of social vices.

This was the submission of one of Team Lagos cyclists, Isiaka Ibraheem who won two medals at the Asaba 2023 Games.

Ibraheem, a student of Government Junior College, Ikoyi, Lagos won a gold medal in the Point Race on Thursday. He had earlier won a silver medal in the Individual Time Trial.

While Ibraheem was so excited winning the gold and silver medals for Team Lagos, he wanted the sports authorities at both the state and national levels to organise more competitions to keep the athletes busy as lack of regular competitions slow down the development of the athletes in their choosing sports.

“We cannot demand for more at this stage if not for any other thing but to keep the athletes busy and in good form. When there is no competition, the form of these athletes would definitely go down. I want to beg the Federal Government of Nigeria to channel resources into exposing athletes from the National Youth Games to more local and international competitions,” Ibraheem said.

He gave kudos for what the Lagos State Government is doing for sports in the state, adding that the officials in Lagos Sports know their job and they take the welfare of the athletes serious.

“We have good training before traveling down to Asaba and this is what helped most of us at the National Youth Games,” he said.

Head Cycling Coach in Lagos, Lukman Oyebola also corroborated Ibraheem that more competitions are needed to give these young athletes future in sports.

He said if there could attention for Ibraheem, who had proven beyond reasonable doubt to be a good cyclist, the country would be better for it in the nearest future.

“Ibraheem is just going to 14 and the potential in him is great. I have no doubt that he would win gold in Asaba because he performed very well in tournaments we went to in Ibadan and Ogun State recently,” Coach Oyebola said.

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