100 secondary schools battle for honours in Opeifa handball competition
About 100 secondary schools are involved in the fourth edition of the Lagos State Secondary Schools Handball Competition, which began at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park, Yaba.
Sponsored by Transportation Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA), Abuja, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, the competition features schools from the six educational districts of the state competing in the junior and senior categories.
Opeifa, who was represented by Mr. Bola Ashiru-Balogun, at the weekend disclosed that the five-day event is part of his efforts to help the state in discovering talents and nurturing them.
According to him, the competition, which began in 2015, has helped in putting Lagos and indeed the Southwest as the centre of handball development in Nigeria.
The former Lagos Commissioner for Transportation said he looks forward to the day when winners of the competition would make the next Olympic competition and all categories of the handball championship in the country are products of the Opeifa sponsored Lagos State secondary schools competition.
He said within five years, eight out of the 16 players in the handball national team are products of the competition.
“I thank the Lagos State Sports Council, the Lagos State Sports Commission, the Handball Association of Nigeria, especially Mr. Sam Ocheo, the Lagos chapter of the association, referees and the Lagos State Ministry of Education for the success of the competition so far,” he stated.
Earlier, former Chairman of the state chapter of the handball association, Ms. Deola Opeifa commended the sponsor for his passion and commitment to the development of handball, especially in secondary schools in the state.
She said various trophies, plaques and certificates as well as gifts such as balls, jerseys and playing kits, Maths Set, school bags, and rulers among others have been provided for winners of the various categories of the competition, which this year, she said, is open in the male and female categories.
She said the overall goal of the organisers is to make the competition a southwest programme by year 2020.
The Director of Sports Development in the Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Moses Kolawole expressed happiness that the competition is helping in developing talents in the game of handball, adding that the Commission will continue to do everything possible to nurture such grassroots talents to stardom in the game.
Kolawole urged other philanthropists to emulate the gesture of Comrade Kayode Opeifa and contribute their own quota to the development of grassroots sports in the state.
A member of the board of the Commission, Hakeem Olukoga thanked the sponsor for helping the state to catch them young and developing the interest and talents of the youth in handball.
The Secretary of the association, Mrs. Bintu Ojikutu expressed the gratitude of the association to the sponsor, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, the HFN President, Mr. Sam Ocheho, and other co-sponsors such as Sir Kessington Adebutu, Kontz Engineering, Safexkayways, Istabaraqim Nig Ltd, Drury Industries, Thomas Chase Nig Ltd., Al Basal Enterprises and the state’s Sports Commission for their support towards the development of handball in Nigeria.