By Menkiti Onyebuchi Bernie, Editor

Sports Diplomacy is one rarely played at the lowest level of states interaction. It is often witnessed at the international level, usually in an organised competition under the behest of regional organisations like the Confederation of African Football (CAF) or international organisations such as the Federation of International Football Assocation (FIFA).

Today, the US Embassy and the State Department rekindled sports as a means of driving state exchange and diplomatic values. Nigeria being a country with reservoir of talent in areas that include education, entertainment, science, technology and sports suffers setback in finding outlets for these talents to thrive.

This found US sports diplomacy is a catalyst meant to aid promote sports and drive new state to state interactions.

However, football is a renowned highlight sports every child finds fun playing while growing up in Nigeria. Its popularity has been a blessing to Nigeria, as each year hundreds of young talents find their way to football clubs abroad, while the country make marks in regional and international competitions bringing honours to the country.

It is in this light that the US Embassy with the State Department identified the importance of football to Nigeria, even more surprising in the least expected place, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp that it made a giant stride to see to the implementation of ‘the US Sports Visitors Program which targets hard-to-reach key youth as well as established athletes.’

To make this a reality, the US Embassy and the State Department selected five young Nigerian football talents from IDP camps and their chaperon to participate in a State Department sponsored Sports Visitor program in the U.S. from August 1-19. This is expected to open doors for more sports talents abound in Nigeria.