Mr Ejike Ugboaja, a board member of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), has commended Sen. David Mark for the donation of a new court for the hosting of annual Mark d’Ball basketball competition in Otukpo, Benue State.
Ugboaja who played top flight basketball in the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA) gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday at the ongoing 2017 Mark d’Ball tournament in Otukpo.
Mark donated the arena to the organisers of Mark d’Ball following the eviction notice served on the tournament mangers in December 2016 to vacate their former venue, the Otukpo Sports Club.
According to Ugboaja, the gesture by Mark shows that the former Senate President believes strongly in youth empowerment and the development of sports in the country.
“I am highly impressed with this brand new basketball court which will serve the people of Otukpo and Nigeria in general.
“Actually, where they were using before was very small but there is enough space in this arena for infrastructure and it is a big leap for basketball development in Nigeria.
“Everybody is happy for this new feat and we hope to see more especially the indoor sports hall Senator Mark and the Manager of Mark d’Ball, my good friend Igoche Mark, have assured to build.
“What I owe the Mark’s family is to make sure I am in Otukpo every year for Mark d’Ball, and I will keep doing this as long as God gives me live,” Ugboaja said.
He noted that his pet project “The Ejike Ugboaja Foundation”, which has a responsibility of sponsoring the education of kids willing to play basketball oversees, had so much in common with Mark d’Ball.
“This is how Ejike Ugboaja Foundation is; we love to teach kids how to play basketball, so, I really give the organisers of Mark d’Ball a big applause for doing wonderful things,” he said.
Ugboaja added that as at this year, his foundation had 14 students’ abroad schooling and playing basketball.
He also told NAN that as players’ representative in the NBBF, he would ensure that the benefits from Mark d’Ball tournament were replicated in the basketball federation for the development of players.