U.S. government promises support for OBN basketball academy
The Public Relations Officer, United States Consulate General, Lagos, Stephen F Ibeiii, has disclosed that the U.S will continue to promote basketball and other sports in Nigeria.
Speaking during the unveiling of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) Academy in Lekki, Lagos, the diplomat said the academy has created another platform for Nigeria and America to collaborate in developing sports at the grassroots level in the country.
Pleased with the efforts of CEO of OBN Academy, Obinna Ekezie, he noted that Nigeria would soon witness rapid development of basketball, adding that talents discovered at the academy would be supported to gain international exposure.
He urged Nigerian youths to embrace the opportunity offered by the academy, adding, “I am here at the ceremony to show Nigerians the support the U.S government has for developing basketball and sports in Nigeria.
“We are going to work with Obinna to realise his target, which is to groom youths to play basketball. I am satisfied with facilities on ground, which is standard enough to develop talents in the dunking game.”
He revealed that but for the COVID-19 pandemic, the U. S government would have started some youth development programmes in Nigeria.
“By 2022, I believe we will start putting it in place,” he added.
Also at the event, former Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President, Tijjani Umar, commended Ekezie for providing a basketball development academy in Nigeria.
He said, “Obinna has broken a record of giving Nigerian children the opportunity to learn basketball at a tender age under a coordinated environment, an opportunity I and other ex basketball stars in Nigeria never had while growing up in the country.
“I employ other stakeholders in basketball to set up this structure across other states. The academy is complete with state of the art court, a well structured clinic and a conducive environment to relate with the minds of the youths, which is important in grooming the young ones.”
Ekezie in his remarks said OBN Academy was created to make parents understand that education and participating in sports play big role in children’s growth.
“I am happy to be launching the best basketball academy in Nigeria. The academy is to develop boys and girls from 6-18.
“I discovered over time that parents after school take their children from one lesson to the other even during holidays. This affects the children not to explore other areas in life.
“Sports is key to every child and giving them the opportunity to learn basketball while growing up will bring out the best in them. At OBN Academy, every talented child will have the opportunity to earn scholarship in America and Europe.
“I have created an online platform for people to also watch our training online. The Academy is open for every child, boys and girls to enroll and become the next future star after being trained by top international and domestic coaches,” he said.
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