1st August, 2011
Â Prince Ifeanyi Orizu, 17 years old, plays for Raptors Basketball Academy, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria. In this interview he spoke about his love for the game and his dream to wear the white and green colours of the country at the Olympics
When did you startplaying the game?
I have been playing since I was 12 years old, that is five years ago.
How long have you been in the academy?
Since three years ago.
Which position do you play?
I play as a power forward for my team.
Who is your mentor in the game on the local scene?
Sincerely speaking, I donâ€™t have any mentor on the local scene because I donâ€™t get to see them when they play on the television.
What about on the world stage?
Without any doubt it is Dwight Howard of Orlando Magic
Because he plays as a power forward just like I do.
Why did you choose basketball out of all the sports?
I actually started sports with football, but due to my height and my physique, people advised that I should try my hands on basketball. That was how I decided to try it out and I fell in love with the game.
Do you have siblings that are into sports related activities?
We all love sports in my home especially football but no one plays it actively.
How did your parents respond to your decision to play basketball?
My parents have been very supportive and they always pray that one day I will become a famous star in the game.
What is your ambition in basketball?
I want to represent this country at the Olympic Games someday.
Donâ€™t you have the desire to play abroad?
I do have a dream to go abroad to play professional basketball and for studies, but it is a dream of every player to wear the colours of his country at a major international tourney and that is my ultimate ambition now.
Do you think there is a future for you in the game?
Well I have met so many former basketball players in the country that are into coaching now that are doing fine. This gives me the confidence that I can play the game and live a fulfilled life.
Do you get any motivation from the society?
Well, the coaches have been encouraging me not to give up on my dream. They have been telling me that with hard work and perseverance I will get there, but lack of basic facilities for us to play has been the problem.
What would you like the government to do to help you realise your dream?
As I said, we lack basic facilities such as good courts, upright, baskets, kits, sponsors, balls and government owned academies. If we can get these things I promise you Nigeria will rule the world in the game .
What gives you such confidence?
Because there are so many players, I mean talented players all over the country. All we need are facilities and I can bet you, we will produce more of Hakeem Olajuwon that will rule the world.