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We are building women for national league, says foundation

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Nneamaka Anyanwu (siting middle) and her crew with some of the aspiring basketballers during a recent training session.

Anyanwu criticises handling of basketball league
Founder, SG Elite Empowerment Foundation Nneamaka Anyanwu believes Nigerian basketball still has a long way to go to get to the desirable and enviable stage. But she admits that the horizon is very bright.

Speaking in Lagos at her NGO training base, Anyanwu said the foundation has been building future basketball stars, adding, “we are giving them skills that they can use as they learn the game of basketball.”

Anyanwu, who is marking the first year anniversary her foundation, disclosed, “I chose girls because there is a big gap in Nigeria when it comes to female empowerment… there is a lot of work to be done so, I decided to give back and basketball comes to my mind.

“We are building leaders on and off the court. A lot of our girls have been through demoralising issues, so basketball is an outlet for them to overcome what they are going through. That is why many of them chose basketball. We have trained about 90 girls.”

She disclosed that she had been funding her NGO alone since inception, adding, however, that some of her friends and few individuals have embraced her vision.

“We are building the girls to get to the level where they will have scholarship to study and play outside the country, and also play at the highest level so that they will be able to play at the national team.

“We want to also give them skill so that they will be able to land a job in corporate organisations,” she added.

Despite the growing standard of Nigerian basketball, Anyanwu is not happy with the way the leagues are run. She believes that with the resources pumped into the game by sponsors, the women league should be better managed.

“Nigeria is about who you know, people are getting money for doing nothing. Zenith Bank is giving the Nigerian basketball league a lot, but that does not reflect in the growth of the game.

“There is a level of training, games that should be going on, the players should be taken care of but you find that it is not what is actually going on. When it is time for championship, they just go to the stadium, throw something together, take pictures, get trophy and they feel fulfilled. This is the league that should stretch for a long period of time with the kind of money invested in it.”

Pointing at the NBA to buttress her point, Anyanwu said, “they start in October and end in March and before that, you will see players start training in August before the first game in October. They take a little break and summer play begin, and that’s what SG basketball is modelled after, working round the clock, doing something every month.

“Zenith Bank League is for a short period so, what are the girls doing in other months of the year? If you are going to pump money into something, let it be sustainable.”


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