It was two years on May 28, 2021, since the present board of Ekiti State Football Association led by its youthful chairman, Bayo Olanlege took the baton to lead the state football association out of its hitherto comatose.
Speaking with the press, Olanlege remarked that the paths have been challenging and thorny, but equally interesting.
” Two years ago, Ekiti State youth placed huge responsibilities on my young shoulder and with a team as eager as myself, we set out to build a football culture in the state,” he began.
On assumption of office, he recalled how undefined the football ecosystem was in Ekiti state. It was a task that he led his team to diligently overcome.
The unassuming and highly resourceful football administrator refuses to see obstacles and challenges in the quests to develop and improve the fortunes of football in the state.
“Saying we had obstacles would almost mean we’re ungrateful to God for His kindness. We’ve been indeed, favoured and lucky. We don’t see obstacles, we see opportunities,” he quipped.
He was quick to attribute the impressive strides achieved by his board to passion and hard work, ” our secret has been our passion. It has been our driving force. It has attracted like minds to us and together, it has been an exciting and very eventful adventure.”
Exuding unbridled happiness and gratitude to God and man for the achievements so far achieved by Ekiti FA, he noted that his board has been fortunate to have great people including patrons, advisers, media, sponsors, and coaches, identify and work with the board towards building a sustainable football culture for Ekiti state.
Lack of financial strength has refused to dampen the enthusiasm and dreams of Olanlege and his team to take football in the state to utopian heights.
” We have not received any financial support from the government. However, what we have received, money can’t buy. And that’s an enabling environment for us to soar as high as we can ever dream.
” His Excellency Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, his wife, our grand patron Seun Odewale, Hon. Akin Oyebode and many others have been a blessing to us and helped us take our dreams beyond imaginations.”
On the moves to improve upon its remarkable achievements, Olanlege harped on the needs to give more support to local football councils.
” The local football councils need more support. That’s one area we have to work on,” he stated. He noted also that there are so much to do for the development of Ekiti football.
” I have 4 years and two is already gone. We still don’t have scholarships for outstanding kids yet, and women football is just kicking off in Ekiti state. And our facilities need lots of attention too.
The awards winning football administrator disclosed that his dreams in the nearest future is to see some of the discovered gifted young footballers in the ever growing talents pool of the state become established professionals.
” In five years time, Ebenezer, Basit and Toheeb would be almost 18. Toluwalase, Peter and others, would be almost 20. It would be great to see them playing professional football with Ekiti United FC, which I hope would be in the premiership cadre at the time. We might see them graduating from higher institutions or a vocational training center. That would be great to see,” Olanlege enthused.
Meanwhile, he said the biggest celebration for him and his board would be the participation of the finalists at the Prof. Akin Oyebode U15 in the Remo Stars Invitational tournament holding this weekend in Ikenne, Ogun state.