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Revolution continues for youth development through sports in Nigeria

City Sports to continue revolutionising Nigerian sports through leadership and character development

City Sports continues to revolutionalise youth and sports development in Nigeria

City Sports Group continues to try a new approach to youth and sports development by opting to build strong character traits in their students.

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The students who are the beneficiaries of City Sports through its many programmes are being taught crucial life skills in addition to the sports they are passionate about.

CEO of City Sports Group and Nigerian grassroots sports stakeholder, Shola Opaleye spoke extensively about the plans of the organisation to impact Nigerian sports.

Speaking at a City Sports press conference, Opaleye highlighted the achievements of City Sports so far and their goal of building the next generation of Nigerian sportsmen and women by building their character at a young age.

“First thing we like to focus on is foundational, what’s the point in developing players to play basketball but they don’t have the character to become a basketball star?” Shola Opaleye said explaining City Sports’ unique approach to grassroots development.

“The catch is that we use football to draw them close and to get them excited and all that but before every tournament, we speak to them for about 30 to 40 minutes. What are we saying? Personal development, motivation, integrity, leadership and all of these things,” Opaleye continued.

“No matter how good you are in anything you’re doing, if you don’t have the character you will not stay up there, what we are all about is making sure we develop the character of these children.”

Head of Mar

keting and Communication, Amaka Madubuko was also present and chipped in “We’re really big on leadership development, trying to help boys and girls in our community, we meet up to 700 kids every weekend.”

Citing previous examples, Shola Opaleye went on to outline the plan for City Sports to become a funnel for mainstream Nigerian sports.

“Currently we have players who have gone through already, playing for the Nigerian under 16 and 17 teams. Monday Gift was a product of City Sports, she started with us, she went through scholarship with us, which is part of the things we do as well because we focus on academic development, we fund some of them to go to school, so she was part of it, Yabatech at the time.”

“This year alone, we have taken about 33 students to Europe for sports development and that’s where the opportunity is.”

“Now we’re talking about City Sports School, the next stage in the development is the City Sports academy, from then on, a school is where everybody comes to but an academy is where we can sift through a bit and discover the better ones.

Exposure for our players, we have a partnership with Real Betis football club and basketball club. Real Betis would come to Nigeria during summer mostly to see one or two boys and girls that might have something.

Every year as well we take them to Real Betis for a week and obviously we don’t promise anybody anything, if all we give them is the exposure to go to Real Betis and play with their academy, that’s good enough, anything else is icing on the cake.”

The City Sports Leadership award does not celebrate ability or performance, it only celebrates character through sports,” Shola Opaleye said revealing the plans for City Sports in the nearest future.

“We are actually rewarding kids that have stood out in selflessness, teamwork, perseverance, courage, respect and all those things that have been mentioned as our leadership values.”

The City Sports Leadership Awards is set to hold in Lagos on December 3, 2022, with a number of students in the City Sports School set to be rewarded for their traits in compliance with the organisation’s ideals.

“Everyone who is finishing with us this year because this marks the end of our sports year, deserves an award for at least finishing, but then we recognise one or two others, 25 in all in this case, that have shown exceptional leadership skills in one way or the other,” Shola Opaleye said.

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