Oyo State Taking Football, Other Sports Seriously

In August 2019, a young man, Honourable Seun Fakorede became the youngest Commissioner in Nigeria’s history, at age 27 – as the commissioner for Youth and Sports in Oyo State under the Leadership of Engineer Seyi Makinde, the executive governor of the state.

Having been in office for over three months, people would believe that he has settled in well and is ready to take the affairs of the state’s sports and youth development to greater heights. And it seems that Oyo State sports sector is gradually moving and progressing under Honourable Seun Fakorede’s reign.

In an exclusive interview with Completesports.com in his office at the weekend, Honourable Fakorede spoke about the state of sports in Oyo State before he came on board, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC), Crown FC and the attention being given to sports in general. Interview by Timothy Dehinbo.

Complete Sports: What is the state of sports in Oyo State now, compared to the situation on ground before you took charge?

Fakorede: Sports has greatly gathered momentum unlike before. There are lot of things we can now say we do have, and there is more motivation for people to actually get engaged in sporting activities at different levels, particularly Shooting Stars SC of Ibadan, Crown FC of Ogbomosho and a lot of sporting engagement in the state.

It’s been amazing and extremely beautiful and we know that this is just the beginning for us, if you follow the matches closely, especially the 3SC matches, even the Crown FC’s games in Ogbomosho, it’s been overwhelming. The stadia are always almost filled to the brim, and this is the dawn of a new beginning for everyone of us in Oyo State.

Honourable Fakorede (l) and interviewer, Timothy Dehinbo

Can’t the Government Privatise Shooting Stars? They’re no longer the big Shooting Stars people knew in the olden days…

The issue with Shooting Stars isn’t about privatisation. The question is, ‘is the government not capable of sponsoring the club’? I can categorically say that our issue isn’t who to sponsor the club. Our challenge is how do we put some formidable structures into place that would make this club able to stand the test of time and regain it’s glory.

No doubt, Shooting Stars is a big club – a continental club, and we’re working assiduously to make sure we return the club to the elite leagues, and by the special grace of God, these things are changing already. As we speak, in the Nigeria National League, NNL, we’ve [3SC] who have played three matches so far, with three wins [in Group B1], and by the special grace of God, we intend to sustain this tempo. Crown FC too [in Group B2], out of three matches, we’ve won two.

Those Shooting Stars’ wins are big ones for us and I really hope for the very best this time and by the special grace of God, we will get that promotion we are seeking.

Honourable Fakorede (l) fields questions during the interview in his office

Most Sports Ministries pay much attention to football to the detriment of other sports. How will you prevent other sports from lagging behind during your tenure?

Yes, truly, I am not the commissioner for youth and football. I am the commissioner for Youth and Sports. And football is just one of those sports, though arguably the most popular sport. However, what we intend to do by the special grace of God under the leadership of our indefatigable governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, is to make sure we throw more spotlight on other sports in the state, like Tennis, Basketball and even swimming. Those are the things we intend doing to really give more credence and more light to other sports and we’re taking active steps to make sure these things are not just ideas but dreams come true.

Already we had a meeting with the chairmen of sports federations in the state, we’ve started well and we’ll sustain the process and ensure we see Gold.
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