The grassroots development competition organised by the Nigerian Basketball Federation has attracted the first official basketball court to Ebonyi.
Osita Nwachukwu, the NBBF South-East Zonal Representative, who made the disclosure on Saturday in Abakaliki during the closing of the competition, noted that it was a great feat achieved by the zone.
Nwachukwu said that Ebonyi’s case was special because it hitherto did not have a basketball court which has, however, been attracted by the competition.
He said: “This gives the entire basketball community in the zone and the country a great joy because basketball players in the state will have the opportunity of showcasing and developing their talents.”
The US-based former D’Tigers star, said the Ebonyi Government would decide on making the basketball court permanent having been situated inside the main bowl of the Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium.
He said: “The government will decide what to do with the already marked court but we are happy that it has afforded Ebonyi the opportunity of hosting the competition previously held in Enugu in 2016 and Imo in 2017.
“Basketball will experience a new lease of life in Ebonyi and we pledge to redouble our efforts to develop the sport in the zone.”
He noted that organising the competition was one of the promises he made to the basketball community in the zone during his campaign for the position.
Nwachukwu said: “I promised then that I will bring basketball to the doorsteps of the people and this is what we have done by organising the competition.
“Anambra will host the 2019 edition of the competition which is competed by the male and female teams of states in the zone on a round-robin format.
“Winners in the male category will be presented with a trophy, medals and N150, 000 prize money, while the two top teams in the female category will represent the zone in the South-East/South-South challenge in Lagos.”
Nwachukwu noted that three players who participated in the 2016 edition were presently in the US on scholarship sponsored by the zone’s leadership.
He said: “We hope that they will in the future become prominent members of D’Tigers and D’Tigress teams as 70 per cent of players in both teams are from the South-East of the country.
“We will continue offering these youngsters the opportunities of developing and showcasing their talents to sustain this dominance by the zone in the nation’s basketball.”
Kingsley Achu, Coach of the Ebonyi contingent, commended the organisers for organising a hitch-free competition as it would complement efforts made to develop basketball in the state.
Achu said: “We will ensure that the state’s female team wins the South-East/South-South challenge in Lagos and correct the lapses which led to the male team’s unimpressive outing in the competition.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Imo emerged victorious in the male category, while Enugu and Ebonyi placed first and second respectively in the female category to qualify for the South-East/South-South challenge.
Emeka Ifeanyi from Imo won the Mo