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How basketball can grow in FCT---Abuja youngsters

Oct, 2021 | By Gyang Dakwo, Kudirat Adamu and Ahmad Adam | ||

Basketball is a game that is becoming more popular by the day in Nigeria largely due to the exploits of Nigerians playing in the world's elite basketball league, USA's NBA and also in Europe. News and images of the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Precious Achiuwa, Josh Okogie, Ike Diogu, Al-Farouq Aminu and a host of others dunking their way to fame and fortune has further endeared the game to a lot of young men and women, prompting them to consider taking up basketball as a career.

The recent displays by the national team, the D'Tigers, in some international friendlies where they beat powerhouses USA and Argentina, even if the Nigerians did not eventually fare well at the Olympics, also sparked a lot of interest in the game. However, due to the scarcity of playing areas, a lot of interested youngsters have had to make do with makeshift courts or half-courts within residential areas.

Abuja Digest Weekly caught up with some of them and they shared their experiences. For 24-year-old Hassan Zubairu, facilities for other sports are a major challenge to most sports people due to the “over-concentration” on football in Nigeria. He said that opportunity should be given across all sports by providing the needed environment for training.

He said: “Given that football is the most played sport in this part of the world, the amount of facilities available for other sport is limited, hence people don't really get the opportunity to participate in other sports even if they're interested in them. The availability of most basketball equipment are hard in some of the courts within the city.

''It'll be appreciable if these facilities are made available, which would in turn allow athletes discover their potentials in other sports. There should be creation of more basketball facilities, competitions and more basketball courts to encourage the young ones that are interested in the game.” Nick Benson, for his part, said there is need for investment in coaches who will train the players on the technicalities of the game and enable them develop in line with best standards.

“The major problem we are having within players is because we don't have a coach to discipline the players when they should. A lot of arguments and sometimes fights start during a game and all these happen because there is no coach to set the rules and punishment for players. Everyone feels it's street basketball court and it doesn't need a lot of rules. Having a coach will improve us and also bring about competition. The coach plays the major role in the team. Having a coach will improve us,” he stated.

Twenty-seven year old Abubakar Musa, who lives in Wuse Zone7, said there is need for sponsorship of competitions at all a levels so that competitive skills can be developed by players, adding that another challenge is that of cost of transportation for youngsters to and from the basketball court which could be far from their residences.


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