The Minister of Sports and Youth Development on Thursday defied the popular scriptural dictum that, ‘a prophet is without honour in his home place’, as he was honoured in his home state of Oyo with an Award of Excellence by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN Oyo State chapter.
Chief Dare was honoured with an award of excellence by the Niyi Alebiosu-led Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter.
•Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, left with the Chairman SWAN Oyo State Chapter
Presenting the Award to the Minister after the semifinals of the Oyo SWAN Five-A-Side Football Tournament held at Lummy Turf, Idi Odo Challenge, Ibadan, the Chairman of the vibrant body of sports writers in the state, Comrade Niyi Alebiosu explained that the award was given to the Minister, who hails from Ogbomoso, to appreciate his valuable contributions to the development of Sports in the country.
“In all honesty, Chief Sunday Dare deserves this award. He is a detribalised man who genuinely pursues even and equitable developments of sports in all parts of the country. I know this because I have worked with the Honourable Minister at close quarters several times in the past”, Comrade Niyi Alebiosu noted.
While lauding the initiatives of the Minister in ensuring the renovations of key federal government owned stadia, starting with the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, Oyo SWAN Chairman implored Chief Dare to also consider the renovation of Nigeria’s first modern stadium, the Obafemi Awolowo stadium in Ibadan.
“On behalf of the sports loving people of Oyo State, I wish to appeal to you sir, to consider the renovation and upgrade the Obafemi Awolowo stadium here in Ibadan.
“This stadium is historic and too important to be left to rot. This stadium had hosted major historical landmark sports events. In actual fact, the history of sports in Nigeria won’t be complete without reference to the roles played by the stadium, formerly called Liberty Stadium”, the widely travelled and experienced sports journalist said.
In his response to the unprecedented honour in his home state, the Minister who is the first ‘Home Boy’ Minister to receive such honour from Oyo SWAN, lauded the resilience and splendid performance of the Alebiosu led SWAN in Oyo State.
“I commend the hard works of sports journalists in this state. You guys have been splendid in the excellent way you successfully organised your Week. As an administrator, I know it’s not easy putting an event of this magnitude together without any major hitch. Also, I shower encomiums on Oyo SWAN because you are thinking out of the box and setting the pace for others, in line with the tradition of the pacesetter state”, Chief Sunday Dare remarked.
The Minister pledged to support the Association of sports writers in the state in any capacity.
In the semifinals watched by the Sports Minister on Thursday, the competition’s defending champions, BCOS rode on hard fighting King FM to the final, after triumphing over their opponents 6-5 in the penalty shoot-out used to decide the winner after the two teams played a 1-1 draw at regulation time.
In the other semifinal game of the day, Agidigbo had a smooth ride over 32 FM, lashing them with three unreplied goals.
The two finalists will battle for the coveted trophy on today, Friday with the BCOS, known as Akede Bombers, poised to win the trophy back to back again.