End Of Year Review: Women League, Sports Festival Light Up 3rd Quarter

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The third quarter of 2011 witnessed hectic schedule of events, both at the domestic scene and the continental level.

The list of events that were played within the quarter include the Zenith Women’s League, National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt, 2011 Afrobasket championship for men in Madagascar and the Africa women tourney in Mali. The All Africa Games was also held during the third quarter under review.

The Zenith Women’s premier league that was rescheduled in July due to late arrival and installation of equipment needed for the tourney,was held from 3-14 August, in Akure, Ondo State.

After over 10 days of slamming and dunking among the nine teams that participated in the tourney, First Deepwater of Lagos upstaged the former champions, First Bank of Lagos to move to the top.

At the National Sports Festival tagged Garden Games 2011 in Port Harcourt, host, Rivers State, emerged champions in both the Women’s and Men’s event.The male team defeated Lagos in the final by 75-63 points after they had beaten the defending champions, Kaduna on their way to the final. The women’s team also captured the title as they beat their counterparts from Delta State in the grand finale at the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.

In the quarter under review, P.M.Sports reported that the Nigerian Under-19 Women’s team and the Under-16 Men’s team failed to participate at the FIBA World Championship in Chile and African Championship in Egypt respectively due to National Sports Commission,NSC, failure to provide them the needed funds for the championships after weeks of camping in the USA and Nigeria by both teams.

In the African Nations Cup in Madagascar, popularly known as Afrobasket, held from 17-28 August 2011, Nigeria’s men’s team, D’Tigers, coached by coach Ayo Bakare got to the semi final only to lose to Angola and eventually won the third place match to book a spot at the Olympic Qualifiers that will hold next year.The same team under the tutelage of Coach Sani Ahmed went to the All Africa Games in Mozambique and won the gold medal.

Nigerian women’s team, D’Tigress, were not that lucky as they finished fourth in Afrobasket in Mali and forfeited a slot in next year’s Olympics.

In the same quarter under review, Nigeria’s budding talents were afforded platforms to showcase their skills and improve on them, as various catch-them-young basketball clinics were held. They include the Rasheedat Sadiq Foundation, Prospect Camp programme ran by Massai Ujiri of the NBA and the Olumide Oyedeji Foundation that was held in August.

On the international scene, Dirk Nowitzki of Germany led the Dallas Mavericks of Texas to the NBA title and he was rewarded with the ESPY Award as the Athlete of the Year.