The School Dunk Basketball mentoring programme (SDB) has reiterated its commitment to support basketball development in Nigeria.
Speaking at the official kick-off training event at Ejidey comprehensive high school Shangisha, Mrs. Ihuoma Godspower Omenazu, Facilitator, School Dunk Basketball (SDB) said: “We are committed to supporting governments’ effort by ensuring Nigerian students are exposed and groomed in the game of basketball at an early age”.
Addressing the students, Omenazu said the reason for facilitating this programme is to encourage young undiscovered talents to understand the basics of basketball, adding that the initiative would help the youths to discover themselves and keep them away from negative vices.
She stated that Nigerian youths are very talented and resilient in their strife and believes if given a chance can become future stars, especially with the right foundation. She said, however, “that there are challenges providing basic kits and facilities for training the students, we are sourcing for ways to bridge that gap to ensure we achieve our objectives”. She urged the students to see themselves as stars and future talents of Nigerian basketball.
Also speaking at the event, Mr. Scott Nnaji, who doubles as President, Nigerian Basketball Coaches Association and Nigerian Female Basketball Team Coach, commended the organiser of the project for the initiative.
He implored government and corporate organisations to support the development of basketball at grassroot level. Nnaji said government can support basketball development by building basketball facilities within school environments so that students can practice and play just like it’s done in other climes.
He said to develop this game among the young ones, there’s also the need to organize constant training, championships among the young ones, especially of different age groups so they can participate and play with their peers.
He encouraged corporate bodies to support the School Dunk Basketball programme with facilities and kits to help engage the young ones in sports.
In his remark, Mr. Boluwaji Bamidele of Complete Sports Newspapers, said: “The sports industry is a viable one, if properly managed. He said the programme is commendable as it encourages and builds students in the area of basketball, adding that sports is a game that brings students together not minding their ethnicity.
He encouraged Nigerians to hinge on the nation’s past sporting achievements and see the need to build new sporting facilities and maintaining dilapidating ones.
Boluwaji said further; “Private involvement in sports is the best we need to develop sports in Nigeria. And there is need to encourage private sectors to participate in developing sports as everything cannot be left to the government.
“The NBA in the United States is a big industry today because of private sector involvement and I believe our government can work with the private sector to develop basketball in Nigeria”.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the training programme which commenced on the 14th of June at Ejidey Comprehensive High School, Shangisha will include a tour of over 10 schools by basketball coaches, athletes, representatives of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) and professional players and promoters.
The team of coaches will be visiting different schools and training them on skills, tactics and giving career talks. Participants of the programme are students between the ages of 10 and 16 in schools across the country.