5th July, 2010
After the conclusion of the Western and Central Conferences, eight teams that will compete in the grand finale of this yearâ€™s Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship have emerged. The finalists comprise of four teams in both boysâ€™ and girlsâ€™ categories.
From the Savannah Conference in Kano are boys and girls teams from Adamawa and Kano, while the Atlantic Conference has Ebonyi and Enugu. At the Central Conference, Kwara and Benue emerged, while the Western Conference has Lagos and Delta.
According to the spokesman of Nigeria School Sports Federation, (NSSF), Kudu Biu Omar: â€œWe want to ensure that bona fide students take part in the competition and we will continue to work hard to ensure that cheating is not encouraged. I want to assure that any team that are found wanting will be dealt with. We were indeed impressed with this yearâ€™s tourney because of the keen competition among the teams, considering the fact that we had reduced the conference to four from six.â€
Meanwhile, the Lagos State team, International School Lagos (ISL) are aiming to lift the title come October. The team emerged winners at the finals of the Western Conference held in Ibadan last month. The ISL team have dominated all the basketball championships in Lagos State except for the maiden Dr Olukoya Tourney where they finished as runners-up.
The Akoka team are yearning for more trophies as they aim for the coveted crown of this yearâ€™s Milo Secondary School Championship.
This year, the team won the Doregos tourney and the annual Ivy League titles. The Ernest Ijeomah-tutored side reaffirmed their readiness to lift the coveted trophy after beating Ogun Stateâ€™s Excel College during the final of the Western Conference in Ibadan, Oyo State. The team, which won the Fair Play award as well as the most entertaining team at the 2009 grand finale, believe they will be unstoppable in the Lagos final in October.
â€œHaving picked the ticket for the Western Conference, our focus now is to go all the way and win the trophy for ourselves, the school management, our parents and indeed Lagos State. We donâ€™t want to remain a local champion, but go all the way to win the grand finale. We tried it last year, we could not achieve it, but this year we are ready to give our best to make the school and the state proud. God has been our strength and we will continue to rely on Him,â€ said Coach Ijeoma.
Former international, Funmi Bamidele, lauded the sponsor, Nestle Plc, for their continued support of the game at grassroots level, saying, â€œthe sponsor should be commended for ensuring the continuationÂ of the annual event. We need more of this, so that we can discover more players from the schools.â€