By Emmanuel Afonne
No fewer than 28 secondary schools in Abuja will participate in the 2017 edition of the Bethphage Basketball Academy competition scheduled to take place at the Basketball Court, National Stadium, Abuja.
The founder of the academy, Thomas-wallace Okoro, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that the competition, aimed at creating awareness on cancer, would hold from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18.
Okoro said adequate arrangements had been made for the successful hosting of the event.
“We are into grassroots development of basketball for children from ages four to teenagers of age nineteen. This is the third edition of the championship and it is tagged, “Abuja indoor schools basketball championship”.
“We also want to use it to create awareness on cancer.
“This competition will help us promote a healthy living for cancer patients and to create awareness on the challenges associated with living with cancer.
“The aim is to use basketball to develop the character of the children; we have been able to instil discipline and leadership qualities in them.
“This competition is for junior category and those that participate will later graduate into the senior secondary level,” Okoro said.
He explained that the academy was established to help transform the Nigerian basketball league and game.
According to Okoro, the academy is working on partnering the FCT Education Department for the development of basketball in schools.
He said the academy was working on a foreign training tour for the athletes to ensure they had the necessary exposure.
“In the past four years we have worked with about 350 children comprising our summer camps, schools and championships they have attended.
“Some of the students have already started playing for the school team.
“Next year, we are going to Canada, Ghana and Holland because the children need exposure to know what it takes to operate on a higher level and that is the way to develop career and we should adopt that.
“From this competition we plan to have an All-Star team comprising two best players from each school brought together for about six months before we go out to compete.
“About 40 kids will be involved in that project.’’ Okoro said.
He urged FCT resident to turnout in large numbers to cheer the participants and added that the athletes and their schools would receive prizes.