• Thursday, February 29, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NBA Africa, AFD refurbish court to enhance junior level basketball in Lagos

NBA Africa, AFD refurbish court to enhance junior level basketball in Lagos

The National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) have jointly refurbished the basketball court at the Campos Stadium. This initiative is aimed at nurturing young talent and fostering community engagement through basketball.

The refurbishment project, unveiled on September 14, 2023, started in June this year and was executed in partnership with the Lagos State Sports Commission.

Speaking at the event, Emmanuelle Blatmann, French Ambassador to Nigeria said, “Today marks a significant milestone in our collaboration with Nigeria, as we inaugurate this basketball court. Sports have the power to unite people, and this project exemplifies the strong ties between France, AFD, and Nigeria in promoting youth empowerment and skill development through sport. I am convinced that having this dedicated sharing space will enable young girls and boys to become changemakers in their local communities.”

“We are thrilled to witness the opening of Lagos’ first basketball court as part of the Basketball Experience program, made possible through our joint efforts with the NBA and Lagos State Sports Commission to promote social inclusion, sustainable development, and gender equality,” remarked Xavier Muron, AFD Director for Nigeria. “This new facility will give even greater impact to the deployment of education through sports activities in schools, by providing young people with a space in which to practice and realize their full potential.”

Similarly, Gbemisola Abudu, NBA Africa Vice President and Country Head of NBA Nigeria, said “The unveiling of the newly refurbished court in partnership with AFD is a testament to our continued efforts to use the power of sport to positively impact African youth. We remain committed to using the game as a vehicle for driving positive social and economic change in Nigeria, and we hope that the new basketball court will encourage more young boys and girls to play the game and live healthy, active lifestyles.”

The Junior NBA & AFD Basketball Experience program forms a vital part of the broader collaboration between AFD and NBA Africa, aimed at fostering youth development through basketball across the African continent.

This initiative builds upon the successful launch of the inaugural Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience in Zenata, Morocco, back in 2019. Subsequently, in November 2021, AFD and NBA Africa initiated a pilot phase in Lagos, executed with the support of the international non-governmental organization Dream Sports Africa.

Read also: Rena Wakama: Road to becoming first female basketball coach winner

Thus far, the program has impacted the lives of over 34,000 boys and girls, aged 12-17, hailing from 55 public and private schools across Lagos State. It also holds the promise to offer young talents from the State and its surrounding communities enhanced opportunities to both learn and enjoy the game of basketball.

On his part, Chenfa Dombin, Founder and CEO of Dream Sports Africa, commented, “Dream Sports Africa exists to create young leaders through sports, and the Basketball Experience, with this newly refurbished basketball court, will transform the physical well-being, mental health, and life skills of thousands of young boys and girls across Lagos State.”

Sharing her experience, Astou Ndiaye, the 2003 WNBA Champion, expressed her excitement about being part of the Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience in Lagos. “I am thrilled to be back in Nigeria and take part in the Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience in Lagos,” she said. “Sport has the power to change lives, and I hope this new basketball court will inspire more young people to play the game, stay active, and learn from each other as their development continues through this initiative and beyond.”