By Babatunde Ogunrinde
Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director, Nestle Nigeria Plc, says the company will continue to use basketball as a tool to contribute to children’s wellbeing just as the organisers of the Nestle Milo Basketball Championships on Thursday announced their readiness for the 21st edition.
Alarcon made the assertion while addressing a news conference to herald the nationwide competition at its Headquarter in Ilupeju, Lagos, on Thursday.
“In line with our purpose, which is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future, we therefore encourage children to be active through sports programmes.
“Good nutrition and an active lifestyle are two important elements to living healthier life.
“Strong in the belief that sports provides opportunities for the development of qualities that set that foundation for a child’s future, Nestle has been in the forefront of grassroots sports development in Nigeria for over two decades now.
“Nestle Milo Championship also provides a platform to help children imbibe life skills and values which enable them to be successful in any area of their lives, on or off the court.
“These values include perseverance through hardship, courage to overcome fear, ability to work in a team, self-belief, respect and leadership. We believe that sports provide opportunities for the development of qualities that set the foundation for a child’s future.
“Our overall target is turning them to champions and guiding them by providing that platform to help them imbibe the skills and values which enable them to be successful in any aspect of their lives,’’ he said.
The Nestle MD expressed gratitude to the Nigeria School sports Federation (NSSF), the Nigeria Collegiate Sports Federation (NCSF) and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) for their support over the past 20 years.
“We use this opportunity to thank those that have been with us for the past 20 years of our operations to achieve all that we have, we are indeed grateful for their unflinching support over the years.
“Since 1999 when we began, the number of schools have risen from 500 to 10,000 with no fewer than 1.5 million students actively involved in the championships.
“We believe this year’s event will no doubt be a very competitive one and we congratulate every school and every student that would be a part of this year’s championships,’’ Alarcon said.
According to him, the 2019 edition promises to be exciting and would give more schools the opportunity to showcase their talents.
Contributing, the Category Manger, Femi Akintola, said that Milo was committed to continue to inspire youth participation in sports, which speaks for the essence of the brand, “Nourishing Ambitiona’’.
He said that the Nestle Milo Basketball Championships had been a training ground and building block for many champions who now play professional basketball.
“One of them is Nkechi Akashili who played in the 2018 Africa Cup for Women Champions Club and in the 2017 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket. She has been named Most Valuable Player five times in the course of her career,’’ he said.
He thanked the states Ministries of Sports, Youth Development and Education for supporting Nestle Milo Basketball Championships which, he noted, was the only private company sponsored school sports championships.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the competition would commence with the Savannah Conference on May 3 to May 8th in Bauchi.
Schools from Adamawa, Borno, Jigawa, Gombe, Plateau, Kano, Katsina and Taraba states would compete at the centre for a chance to make it to the national finals.
In the Central conference which comes up in Minna, Niger, will have schools from Benue, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara and Abuja would participate from May 10 to May 15.
The Equatorial Conference which is third in the series has schools from Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers competing for honours in Enugu, form May 17 top May 22.
In the Western Conference which holds from May 24 to May 29 comes up in Ibadan, will have schools from Ondo, Lagos, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Osun, Ogun and Oyo participating.
The National Finals will hold at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, from June 27 to July 4.
The leadership of the NBBF, the NSSF and the NCSF who were at the news conference all thanked Nestle Milo for giving the youth the opportunity to develop through basketball.