Ahmed Yusuf Fresh at the occasion in Lokoja
Top sports personalities in Nigeria, including the Executive member of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh have harped on the need for relevant stakeholders to join hands in development of sports at the grassroots.

They stated this in Lokoja, Kogi State capital on Saturday during an award ceremony organized by Success Tiyu International in conjunction with the Kogi State Football Association tagged North Central Award for Sports Excellence 2017.

Alhaji Ahmed Fresh who is the Chairman of Niger State Football Association noted that sports could be used as a tool for youth empowerment and development of the country.

The newly appointed chairman of Technical and Development committee of the NFF, who was among the award recipients that were recognized for their immense contribution towards sports development in North Central Nigeria said sports development should not be left alone in the hands of government thereby called for collaborative efforts from corporate organizations and individuals.

"Sports has gone beyond what we use to know, it's a business now, and if we develop it well especially from the grassroots, more people will be empowered and get to live a meaningful life.

"For me and rest of the awardees, I want us to see this recognition of awards not only to appreciate us but to also spur us to continue to do more, and of course to encourage others to join us in what we are doing," the member of CAF Technical and Development committee said.

A member of Handball Federation of Nigeria, Mallam Jubril Saidu who was among the award recipients used the occasion to call for unity and collective support among sports family in Kogi State and its environs adding that the pulldown syndrome within the circle should be jettisoned.

Chairman of Nasarawa United who is also the Chairman of Club Owners/Managers Association in the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, Barrister Isaac Danladi called on the Federal Ministry of Sports and Sports Councils across the 36 states of the country to join in the task of lifting the spirit of love, peace and good neighbourliness through sports development.

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Chairman of the occasion, Mallam Abdul Sule- who is also the chairman of Kogi United and Confluence Queens- and chairman of Kogi State Football Association, Alhaji Suleiman Isah Umar commended the organizers of the awards for using the avenue to strengthen the bond among the sports family in the North Central Nigeria.

Director of Success Tiyu International, Musa Abubakar said the sports firm whose major aims and objectives was to see North Central Nigeria leading in all strata of sports would continue to encourage commitments and supports of those individuals and organizations that are dwelling more on youth and sports development in the zone and country at large.

Among those that were honored with 2017 Sports Excellence awards include Pillar of Sports in Nigeria, Chief Donatus Agu Ejidike, executive member of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, Barrister Amos Dushu, Mallam Jubril Saidu of Nigeria Handball Federation, Chairman of Nasarawa United, Barrister Issac Danladi, ABS FC's Director of Football, Alloy Chukwuemeka, Team Manager of Confluence Queens, Tosin Ojo Olorunleke and Mrs Lilian Oluwafunmike Kanjuni.

Others include Mr Aimola Dare of Nigeria Cricket Federation, board member of International Table Tennis Federation, ITTF, Chief Olusola Owolabi, Secretary and Welfare Officer of Confluence Queens, Hajia Alami Ibrahim, Technical Adviser of Nasarawa United, Suleiman Kabiru Dogo, his counterparts at Niger Tornadoes and Wikki Tourists, Abubakar Bala and Bala Nikyu.

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