Saturday July 02,2022
The 22nd Milo Basketball Championship has come and gone with great moments of excitement and colourful memories of the ambience of the game arena, the teeming spectators, the MILO Cheer girls’ dance and the intermittent MILO clap beats at every successful basketball dunk from the buzzing sound of the DJ. There’s is no gainsaying that participants and lovers of the basketball game enjoyed the classic setting likened to a continental event and made possible by the multinational company, the Nestle Nigeria PLC.
Most especially, the winners of this year’s edition, Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Obom, Bayelsa State that defeated Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT, Abuja with 36 to 33 points in the finals. So also the girls from St. Jude’s Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa State who outclassed their counterparts from Akpur College, Gboko, Benue State by 38 to 14 to emerge winners of the girls category championship on Thursday June 30,2022 at the indoor hall of the National Stadium, Lagos State.
The championship which was keenly contested by the youngsters revealed the future of the game and proved beyond doubts the high level of commitment and passion towards the sport.
The high moment of the finals was in the boys category where the game nearly ended a draw with each team holding on to 33 points. Just about 22 seconds to the end of the game, the Bayelsa boys with good coordination did a three point throw from the center of the court which
coincided with the final buzzer, sending spectators into a wild jubilation .
According to records, MILO Basketball Championship started with less than 500 schools in 1999 and presently bring together over 10,000 schools every year, with a record registration of 10, 354 schools at the 22nd edition.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Mr. Wassim El-Husseini who was ecstatic at the sterling performances of the youngsters reiterated the company’s commitment to giving the right foundation to the future generation of Nigeria.
“The MILO Basketball Championship provides a platform to help the participants imbibe values that set the right foundation for their future. As they participate in sports, they learn grit – perseverance through hardship, courage to overcome fear, ability to work in a team, self-belief, respect, and leadership.
“We will therefore, continue to do our utmost to help shape a healthier and happier generation of Nigerians by encouraging participation in sporting activities through the MILO Basketball Championship, he quipped”
The Nestlé Chief Executive also thanked the Nigerian Schools Sports Federation (NSSF), the National Collegiate Sports Foundation (NCSF), the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), the Ministries of Sports, Youth Development and Education in the various states, for their support in ensuring the success of the Championship over the last 22 editions.
Also speaking at the National Finals, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development
Mr. Sunday Dare who was represented by Professor Olawale Moronkola, the Director
General of the National Institute for Sports commended Nestlé Nigeria PLC for its yearly sponsorship and efforts towards giving youths the platform to exhibit their talents. “I wish to commend the
commitment, passion and financial support of Nestlé to the growth of basketball in the country. It is heartwarming to note that this platform has become a gathering for discovering, nurturing and development of the so many budding talents in our dear country.”
The Minister congratulated all the
participants and promised federal government’s support to companies that
invest in sport development.
Moreover, the President of the Nigeria Schools’ Sports Federation (NSSF), Olabisi Joseph,
who spoke on this year’s Championship said, “Nestle Nigeria PLC has made
significant contribution to the growth of sports in Nigeria and the creation of a
bright future for young people by supporting and promoting basketball in schools.
“The championship has served as a platform for showcasing and harnessing the great potential of young Nigerian students and integrating them into the
mainstream of basketball, he concluded.”
One of the beneficiaries who built on the success of this MILO Championship was Nkechi Akashili who participated and won the 2009 edition at the age of 19years old. The doors to the world stage opened for her to represent Nigeria in the World Secondary Schools Championship in Argentina, South America. Akashili later joined the Delta Force team in Delta State, First DeepWater, Lago,moved to FirstBank team, D’Tigress and now with Elephant Giles Basketball Club in Nigeria. She is presently in the national women basketball team and has featured in FIBA Africa Under 18 Championship, FIBA Women Basketball World Cup, FIBA Africa Women’s Champions Cup, FIBA Africa Cup for Women Clubs, FIBA Women’s Afrobasket and many more.
A multimedia professional with about two decades experience in visual and text journalism.