“My passion for development and growth led to the creation of Private School Games.” – Yemi Egbeoluwa
Most sports talents are discovered at grassroots, especially through secondary school championships. The just concluded Private Secondary Games (PSG), proved to be one of such championships as several athletes were discovered that can be nurtured into future sports professionals.
At the end of the Games, Mayflower Private School, Ikene, Ogun State, emerged champions by dominantly sweeping the medals table with 13 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze medals.
Lead-Forte Gate College, Lekki were 2nd with 5 Gold, 9 Silver and 4 Bronze medals, while St. Joseph Schools closed in 3rd with 4 Gold, 4 Silver and 3 Bronze medals.
We got talking with Mr Yemi Egbeoluwa, the founder and CEO of School Games Limited and the brain behind Private School Games. In this interview, he gives in details the reasons behind going into private schools, objectives of the Games, getting sponsors, and his future plans.
Brief us about yourself:
My name is Adeyemi Egbeoluwa, I’m the founder and CEO of School Games Limited. Professionally I’m an animator and special effects artists, I make cartoons and I do special effects for film and TV. But I have a passion for development, hence I’ve been doing children’s day for the past seven years whereby I celebrate the public school sector. And what led to that was I learned that what public children do during children’s day, they’re either helping their parents or just at home. They really don’t get the feel to celebrate.
But then that’s not what this is about, I’m just someone that has passion for development and growth. I tell people that I don’t have anything but I see Nigeria as a project and everyone has to contribute their own quota to the development of the country. We’ll always continue keep on complaining but until we decide to do something in our own little strength, we’ll be in the same place.
So that was what led to the creation of PSG?
Yes, so the creation of PSG is when I look at the initiatives the government more or less, the government initiatives caters more to the public sector. Why? Because for the private schools, the first thing is education, every other thing comes next to it. And then I looked at the competitions out there and I found out that there’s little participation for private schools, hence we coming up with these competitions.
And also when we look at the aggregate of the contribution of the private school to Nigerian sports, it’s very minimal. Then we decided to change the narrative, that it’s not only in Ajegunle that there are talents, there are talents everywhere. And I really don’t regard whether a child is in the public or private sector, they’re all children and they all need attention. That’s why more or less we came up with this idea.
Were your expectations met with the number of talents discovered?
Oh yes, we have discovered quite a lot of students that can be developed and nurtured. You know the first thing is to have a platform to discover, before we go to the next step to nurture and to develop these students to be professional sports men and women.
Yes, my expectations have been met from football to basketball, to athletics, it’s been awesome. We’ve been able to see so many people we are going to work with. And now the thing about this is, it’s not just about this competition. After the competition, what we’re doing is the talents we discover we’ll then get them facilities to train, get them coaches and keep enhancing them.
How easy was it talking to these schools to get them to register? Because like you said earlier with most of these private schools, education is first while sports is just by the way:
Laughs! I’d say that was the hardest part. I mean if you know the private sector, they always want to work with credible organisations. So what I did was more or less partner with the Association of Private Educators (APN), they have about 80 schools under them and then I partnered with Super Sports, partnered with the Nigerian Red Cross, partnered with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, to more or less show our credibility and sell our ideas to them.
And then they came, they endorsed us and we started reaching out to the schools. So the association made things quite easy, there was a lot of support from APN and I really want to thank them for that. Because without them it wouldn’t show how credible we are and thank God that we could pull this off, thank God it was safe and enjoyable.
For the first year we had 10 schools, we’re very grateful for that not so many people get that opportunity. When FIFA started the World Cup, they started with 3 teams and right now we know what it’s like. So we plan for next year because it’s an annual event. We’re focused on creating unique inter-school competitions for schools in Nigeria, and we’re not really particularly in the private sector. We’re in for both public and private sector to bring schools together; not just to compete but interact and take them to the next level.
Talking about sponsors you had quite a number, because it’s hard to get corporate bodies to support school sports. How easy was it to get this done?
Yea, it’s not easy but then we thank God because a few people keyed into our dream. Cocacola keyed into our dream, Access Bank, Diamond Bank, FIRS, Jumia, Milo, as long as everyone sees prospects. You know this is sport, this is development, so I think when it comes to development it’s not difficult getting sponsors, it just depends on how early you move to approach them.
So I’ll say it was quite tasking because this is actually a three-year plan. But then we were looking confident, and we were running around for 1 year for this project. We thank God for everything, we thank God for the weather, we thank God for everyone that has come to support, we thank God for the schools, we thank God for the sponsors that believed in us, and next year is going to be bigger and better and we’ll take things to the next level.
Thank you very much for your time.