Ekiti State's team has unveiled their new kits at the National Youth Games in Asaba, signaling a fresh start after their embarrassing mishap during the opening ceremony. Previously, viral pictures circulated online showing the athletes wearing mismatched attire, including different shades of pants and slippers with their white T-shirts. The new kits will be proudly worn by the athletes during the closing ceremony on Saturday.
In response to the kits scandal, the Ekiti State House of Assembly has launched an investigation into the matter. Idowu Odebunmi, Chairman of the House Committee on Youths and Sports, expressed the House's dissatisfaction with the negligence of sports council officials, which tarnished the state's image. The probe aims to ensure accountability, transparency, and adherence to standards when representing Ekiti State, and the committee is determined to see it through to its logical conclusion. The committee has summoned the general manager of the state's sports council, Adekuble Adeyemi, and his senior officials to appear before them once they return from the games. The committee will then submit its report to the House for further legislative action.
Although Adeyemi was recalled from the games amidst the outcry, he apologized for the embarrassment caused and reassured that the sports council would continue its best efforts to advance sports in Ekiti. Adeyemi also expressed gratitude to Governor Biodun Oyebanji's administration for their support, mentioning that the governor promptly approved N20 million for the Games within 24 hours of receiving the request.
Beyond the kits scandal, revelations have emerged about the poor preparations of the Ekiti contingent prior to the Games. Sources revealed that the 100 athletes representing the state had not been properly trained or given adequate facilities to train with. Despite these challenges, the athletes have been striving to perform their best. Golfer Abdulrahman Fatai and his younger brother Abdulrahman Mustapha won gold medals for Ekiti State in the golf event. Additionally, other athletes have also been excelling in table tennis and handball. However, their inadequate preparations may hinder their potential, according to an official.
Notably, Ekiti State lacks the necessary facilities for certain sports, such as gymnastics and weightlifting. The Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado-Ekiti, which is in need of refurbishment, currently accommodates limited athletic activities. Despite the lack of proper resources, Ekiti athletes have historically achieved success in various sports. However, due to the absence of financial support from the state government, only players from Ekiti United FC receive regular salaries. Other athletes only receive meager allowances during national events or other competitions they attend. Nevertheless, the Governor's approval of N20 million for the 2023 Youth Games demonstrates a commitment to sports development in the state.
Overall, Ekiti State's team is determined to overcome the setbacks they faced and continue to showcase their talents in the remaining events of the National Youth Games.