11th October, 2010
With victories in the finals of the just concluded 12th Nestle Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship, SaintÂ Joseph Secondary School of Markurdi and Asaba Girls Grammar School, Asaba will be flying the countryâ€™s flag at the 2011 World Schools Basketball Championship in China.
The Secondary Schools Basketball Championship, which climaxed last Saturday at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, saw Saint Joseph Secondary School of Markurdi beating Ahmaddiyya College, Kano, winners of the tournament in 2000 and 2005, by 76- 63 points to lift the trophy in the boysâ€™ category for the first time in the history of the school sports championship.
The boys from the middle belt started their final campaign on a good note, winning the first quarter by 24 points to 19, won the second quarter 12 points to 8 and ended the first half 36-27 points.
The trio of John Ogwuche, Simeone Tamen and Abeda Phillips, who emerged the Most Valuable Player, MVP of the championship, were in good form, as they matched Kano boys with creative passes to maintain their lead in the third quarter with 18 points.
Apart from the trophy, the new champions received the sum of N150, 000, while Ahmaddiyya College got the sum of N120, 000. The International School, Lagos, who came third, got the sum of N100, 000
Asaba Girls Grammar School, Asaba, Delta won the female category after beating Royal Dalex College, Ilorin in the final.
Chief Alex Iyekolo, Proprietor of Royal Dalex, expressed satisfaction over the performance of his girls, saying despite the loss, the team tried their best.
Bisi Joseph, Secretary General of Nigeria Schools Sports Federation, NSSF, thanked Nestle Milo Plc. for providing the platform for the students to express their God-given talents. She urged the state governments of the winners to support the teams as they prepare for the world championship.
Femi Akintola, Brand Manager, Nestle Milo, stated that the company does not only provided a befitting foundation for the growth of sports at the grassroots, butÂ also paving the way for the young basketballÂ players to get chances to play for the national teams.
Former Super Eaglesâ€™ Goalkeeper, Peter Rufai, who was also part of the event as a special guest, commended Nestle Milo for its consistent sponsorship drive, which hasÂ Â added value to the game in the country. He noted that Nigerian sports administrators and corporate bodies should focus their attention on developmental programmes to build a virile future for Nigerian athletes.Â NestlÃ©â€™s Managing Director, Martins Woolnough, said the tournament has become more competitive for all participating schools which is developing the game at the grassroots level with over 4,000 schools registered for this yearâ€™s edition.
Woolnough said the company believes the country has enough potentials in the sport, adding that Nestle sees it as one of its social responsibilities to give Nigerian youths a lift in their chosen careers.Â He advised the players to also pay attention to their education, saying the company has a good relationship with the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF to develop Nigerian basketball at the grassroots.