A record entry of more than 9, 000 schools in Nigeria will fight for honours in the 18th edition of Nestle Milo Secondary School Basketball Championship this year.
This was disclosed Thursday by the Managing Director of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon, who said that the longest running basketball competition in Nigeria has continued to grow bigger.
The competition will dunk off with state preliminaries and finals across the country from 22-26 February.
Gordhon said that the tournament has provided a great heritage for young Nigerians (boys and girls) who have benefited from the opportunity to participate in the championship.
“Many have gone on to achieve great heights both in basketball and other endeavours of life,” he said.
To underscore the importance of the annual Nestle Milo Secondary School Basketball Championship, Mr. Iain Nelson, acting chairman of National Collegiate Sports Foundation said that “five out of the 12 Nigerian female national team players, D’Tigress who will be representing the country at the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments are products of this competition. They include Nkechi Akwashili, Chioma Udiaja, Upe Atusu, Nkem Akaraiwe and Patience Nene Upe.
“They could never have found themselves in such an enviable position without the platform created for them to develop their skills through Nestle Milo basketball tournament.”
Secretary General of Nigeria School Sports Federation, NSSF, Mrs. Bisi Joseph said that after champions have emerged in various states, the tournament will move on to the Conference (zonal) stage from 21 April-19 May.
“There will be Western Conference in Lagos, Central Conference in Ilorin, Confluence Conference in Lokoja and Equatorial Conference in Enugu,” Mrs. Joseph said.
She disclosed that Lagos will be hosting a Conference playoff (Western Conference) for the first time, while the national finals, which was hitherto played in Lagos in the past 17 editions will now be hosted by Asaba, Delta State, from 5-12 June this year.
Category Manager, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr. Olufemi Akinola said that “at each of the conference, the first placed teams in both male and female categories will win championship trophies and various amounts of cash rewards for the development of sports facilities in their respective schools.
“Each of the 12 teams that qualified for the national finals in Asaba from the conference stage will receive the sum of N200,000. Winners of the finals will go home with additional N150,000 for first place, while second and third place teams will receive N120,000 and N100,000 respectively,” Akinola said.
He further disclosed that at the end of the competition, a special training camp will be held for players who have distinguished themselves in the competition.
“Milo in conjunction with Giants of Africa and some NBA players from USA will organise this unique basketball training programme tagged Nestle Milo Top 50 Camp which will come up from 4-7 August,” he said.
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