The Federal Government has appealed to philanthropists and the organised private sector to spend part of their profits on youth development through sponsorship of sports.

The Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, made the appeal on Saturday in Ilorin at the closing of the maiden Chief of Naval Staff Volleyball Championships.

The minister, who was represented by Dr Stephen Olarinoye of the National Sports Commission (NSC), South-West Zone I, Ibadan, said that government alone could not fund sports because it was highly capital intensive.

Abdullahi commended the authorities of the Nigerian Navy for their efforts in repositioning sports through developing it at the grassroots.

“The authorities of the Nigerian Navy have been constant in partnering with the NSC to organise strategic competitions that create the platforms for the emergence of talents.

?“Such talents are capable of launching Nigeria back to glory once again in the comity of high-performing sports nations,” he said.

Abdullahi explained that what should be done to discover potential athletes who could do the nation proud was to organise competitions to encourage them.

In his contribution, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara said the state was delighted to host the maiden edition of the championships.

He said that his administration was keen on sports development, especially at the grassroots.

Ahmed, who was represented by Kayode?? Towoju, the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, said that sport was a unifying factor, adding that “with sports there is no tribalism’’.

He, however, noted that without funds and motivation, sports would not be developed, calling for individual and corporate bodies’ partnership in moving sports forward.

“Sports is no longer a recreation, no longer an exercise but a big business; an international matter,” said the governor.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Dele Ezeoba, said the sponsorship was among the Nigerian Navy’s modest contributions to sports development.

He asserted that the championships had gone a long way to tapping talents from the grassroots who could represent the country at the international level.

Ezeoba, who was represented by Commodore Adebayo Taiwo, the Director of Sports of the Nigerian Navy, commended the State Government for accepting to host the championships.

The President of the Nigerian Volleyball Federation, Habu Gumel, said the federation hoped for continuing partnership with the Navy to discover talents and engage youths in productive activities.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) came first in the male category, beating Nigerian Customs to second position by a 3-1 margin.

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) placed third.

In the female category, the NIS won through a round-robin game, while the NSCDC and the Nigerian Navy came second and third, respectively.