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Engr. Oluwole Raphael Farounbi : Driving Baseball and Softball Development in Nigeria

 

Engineer. Oluwole Raphael Farounbi , Program Director for Africa Youth Baseball Empowerment Foundation, has reiterated his commitment to developing baseball in Nigeria.

Speaking at the inaugural Monimak Baseball and Softball Junior Clubs Championship in Ilorin, Kwara State, Oluwole Raphael Farounbi shared his vision for Nigerian baseball, aiming to have a player in the major league within 5-7 years.

“My name is Engineer Oluwole Raphael Farounbi. I’m the program Director for Africa Youth Baseball and Softball Empowerment Foundation. I have been into baseball for over 33 years, I started as a little legal player and part of the team that played the foundation ceremony on this pitch,” Farounbi said.

“Basically, the whole idea is for us to bring kids together and encourage education using the games of baseball and softball and also introduce them to sign technology and engineering mathematics. As an engineer, I see a need for us to blend sports and education,” he explained.

When asked about his connection to Monimak Global Foundation, Farounbi replied, “The founder of Monimak happens to be a sister, and the current Acting President of the Nigeria Baseball Association. She’s also a trustee member of the African Youth Baseball and Softball Empowerment Foundation. She’s connected because the goal is to encourage younger ones to play baseball and softball so the connection is baseball and softball”.

Farounbi expressed his vision for baseball in Nigeria, saying, “The vision is to have a Nigerian player in the major league within the next 5 to 7 years. Major league is the hallmark of the league in the world, and Nigeria, with a population of 230 million, should be able to contribute to the minority participating in the major league. That’s where you will have it real-life.”

He praised the performance and outcome of the Monimak Baseball and Softball Junior Clubs Championship, saying, “The performance and outcome are very impressive, showing that there are many talents in these kids, and we need to nurture them and have more.”

Farounbi also mentioned the federation’s efforts to have baseball recognized as a federated association by the Ministry of Sports, saying, “For the federation, there’s a move to reach out to the Ministry of Sports to have baseball listed as a federated association other than incorporated.”

As a member of the Kwara State baseball association, Faronbi prioritizes developing baseball in Kwara, Nigeria, and Africa, saying, “Whatever activities we’re doing, we always inform them. Our priority is to develop baseball in Kwara, Nigeria, and Africa.”

When asked to rate the program’s progress, Farounbi said, “I will say 70 to 80 percent, giving us room to improve more. This is not our best; we can do better.”

Finally, he encouraged parents to support their children’s participation in sports, balancing it with academic education, saying, “I will encourage parents to allow their kids to play sports, balance it with academic education, and ensure they support them.” He announced plans for another event in the next two or three months, demonstrating his dedication to the sport’s growth in Nigeria.

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