Nigeria's Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Sunday Dare is flanked by MoC Founder/CEO Bambo Akani and MoC Head Coach Deji Aliu, during the Minister's visit to the track club in Lagos on Monday, October 14.

Athletes of Making of Champions (MoC) Track Club in Lagos received an August visitor while training at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Monday, October 14, in the person of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Sunday Dare, who stopped by to watch them train and to also offer words of encouragement to the athletes.

Hon. Dare commended the efforts of MoC Founder/CEO Bambo Akani towards raising athletes that could potentially make the country proud on the global stage, and emphasized the need to have more of such initiatives replicated across the country.

He said, “I had to cancel my flight to really come and see the athletes and also see those behind MoC. The fact that I’m here is a validation that MoC is blazing the trail that I want to see happen in this country. I think what we have going here is instructive apart from being commendable, because what Bambo is doing is exceptional.

“If you have a number of Bambos across the country, about a dozen of them doing what he’s doing with this team, I think that will be a major contribution to sports development, especially Athletics. Making of Champions is gradually becoming an institution; it’s becoming a model that the ministry would replicate.”

Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Sunday Dare (Left) commended the efforts of MoC Founder/CEO Bambo Akani during the former’s visit to Lagos on Monday.

Hon. Dare also offered the ministry’s support for MoC athletes that have represented the country at international events, such as Joy Udo-Gabriel, Blessing Oladoye and Emmanuel Ojeli who represented Nigeria at the African Games in Rabat where they won medals in the women’s 4x100m and 4x400m events, and the men’s 4x400m relay as well.

“The message today is that the ministry recognizes what Bambo and his team are doing with MoC; it’s commendable. It’s a model that is workable and is timely, and the ministry will recognize this; the ministry will in fact provide support for MoC and also for the athletes that are Olympics bound”, he said.

“We will encourage you and support you for your training and camping as the case may be. We are going to look for similar organizations like MoC across the country and bring them together because we are also trying to look at the model in which we co-ordinate, and groups like MoC implement and we give them the support that is necessary.”

Hon. Sunday Dare alongside some of MoC athletes that have respresented Nigeria including Emmanuel Ojeli (2nd Left), Joy Udo-Gabriel (Centre), Blessing Oladoye (2nd Right) and Jerry Jakpa (Right).

Hon. Dare also disclosed that the government is gearing its efforts towards rehabilitating facilities that will aid Nigerian athletes’ training and preparation ahead of major events.

“I’m not happy that over the years we’ve not had a maintenance culture in terms of maintenance and management of these facilities that has deprived our athletes of the necessary structure to train. We’ll pay attention to restoring some of these major facilities, not just the football pitches or the terraces, but also I’ve been to the indoor sports stadium”, he said.

“I’ve seen the Weightlifting and a couple of areas in which we can see clearly from Morocco, we’re really strong in Wrestling, Weightlifting, Table Tennis, Badminton; we need to bring back some of these sporting facilities, and government is determined to do that working with the private sector, and that process is already ongoing.”

 

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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