We provide platforms for kids to excel in sports, NBA Africa, Partners confirm

The National Basketball Association (NBA), Nigeria Office and its partners, Exxon Mobil Nigeria and Africare have organised a basketball clinic and mentoring sessions for secondary school students in Abuja to teach them the fundamentals of the slam and dunk game and also equipped the students with life skills for the future.

The one-day programme, held in Abuja on Thursday at the Government Secondary School, Tudun Wada, Wuse was attended by over 100 school boys and girls from five secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Gbemi Abudu, NBA Africa vice president and Country Head, Nigeria Office while speaking with Tribune Sports said the objective of the programme tagged “Power Forward 2022 Season Launch” was aimed at giving young boys and girls the opportunities to learn about the fundamentals of basketball and also equipping the youth with life skills to prepare them for the future.

Abudu said, “The ‘Power Forward’ is a partnership between the NBA, Pan Africare and Exxon Mobil. The whole objective of the programme is for us to give young boys and girls the opportunities to learn about the fundamentals of basketball while also equipping them with life skills that are transformational to their lives.”

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The programme according to Abudu started nine year ago in Abuja and has reached 150,000 kids in the FCT alone. She described the programme as a tool for nation building which will be replicated across Nigeria in no distant time.

“In the past nine years, we have reached 150,000 kids in Abuja and this we plan to take round the country in no distant future. The programme is also about talents’ identification and one thing we are very aware of is that youth empowerment is a big part of what we do and we are also aware that not everyone is going to become a basketball player. But for those who demonstrated exceptional skills, we do identify them and we have programmes in which they are incorporated into. This is about giving back to the community and equipping the future leaders with the right skills needed to be successful and be productive members of the society”, Abudu stated.

Manager, Media and Communication, Exxon Mobil Nigeria, Mr Oge Udeagha and the Country Director, Africare, Dr Patrick Adah, in their submissions agreed that health plays a very prominent role in the lives of the children because it is only a healthy child that can engage in sporting activities.

Udeagha said Power Forward is initiative aimed at supporting the Federal Government of Nigeria and other agencies in combating malaria which accounts for thousands in the country annually saying his company has committed not less than N15 billion in the fight against malaria in the last 20 years.

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Dr Adah said in as much as basketball like every other sports has been identified as one of the tools for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it serves as a good platform to reach out to the youths to teach them life skills as well as their health.

The schools that participatedin the programme included; Government Secondary School, Karu, Government Secondary School, Zone 3, Raberto Schools Wuse 2, Community Secondary School, Asokoro and Government Secondary School Tudun Wada Wuse Zone 4 the host school all in Abuja.