CAPTION: Coach Oliver B. Johnson (left) with Andy Kpedi on the sidelines of the 1st ABU National/International Basketball Workshop For Coaches
KADUNA/Nigeria: In its bid at fastracking the development of the game of basketball in Nigeria and Africa, frontline basketball team in the United States of America, Chicago Bulls has donated two hundred balls and some bags to the maiden Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria National/International Workshop for coaches.
This was disclosed by the Nigerian Coordinator of the workshop, Coach Oliver B. Johnson, popularly known as Coach OBJ at the close of the training at the weekend at the gymnasium hall of ABU.
Coach OBJ said the support from Chicago Bulls was unprecedented and called on other public spirited individuals, teams and corporate organisations to emulate them and other sponsors of the workshop.
“We are grateful to them and other sponsors and calling on others to emulate them,” he said.
Coach OBJ said that the workshop which he described as successful, featured 54 participants, including nine ladies from all over Nigeria.
The veteran coach, who is also the technical adviser for basketball in ABU attributed success recorded to team spirit
“We initiated it it is a team work. I couldn’t do it without a team. Some of the outstanding people that committed to its success include Andy Kpedi, Director, U diversity Advancement, Professor Adamu Ahmed, Isa Umar Foundation, Edward Tox, and the ABU Vice Chancellor were exceptional.
“We met the Vice Chancellor on Monday, he spent more than half an hour with us while on a courtesy call out of his very busy schedules He gave us some gifts and we also gave him some.
“Isa Umar Foundation donated two sets of jerseys to male and female basketball teams of ABU during the visit,” he added.
In an interview with our correspondent, Andy Kpedi, one of the coaches and also sponsor, said that with what he witnessed during the workshop, Nigeria is in good hands with basketball coaches.
“There are things they need to improve on, is writing things down and documents their progression.
“They have improved because we gave them the skills they needed to I prove on, I made them do a practice plan, which they did. They have been excellent,” he concluded.
As part of the workshop, a health fitness session was anchored by Dr. Funmi Dominic an Associate Professor of the University of Ilorin.
Funmi who is also the institution’s basketball coach and currently the Director of Sports University of Ilorin, said the session was to ensure the coaches are healthy.
“Its a workshop for coaches, but we need to check to ensure they are healthy. We also provided for them psychologically. We have also conducted medical tests and check ups on them.
“Through questions and answers we have discovered where they have health problems and provided possible solutions,” she added.
In separate interviews, coaches that participated expressed delight at what they have learnt.
Saratu Luga coach of FCT City Chiefs Basketball Team, said she learnt a lot from the workshop.
“Learnt that I must upgrade, I must move with time, stay fit to be able to impart in youth or basket players.
“I am optimistic it would impact on my team. Professionalism has been learnt” Luga, who spent last season coaching Nigerian Air force Warriors Team, Abuja said.
For Fatima Bashir Adetunla, Female basketball coach of Bayero University Kano, she said she will use all learnt to maintain winning streaks of her team.
“I will use everything I learnt here in maintaining my winning spirit to keep the gold coming.
“The university sponsored me here and I will pay them back by putting into practice what I learnt here for efficiency and better results,” she said.
Also speaking, Zamfara State basketball coach, Bashar Mohammed said that what he has learnt will make him a better coach.
“I have learnt all the drills, many things like what a coach is expected to do on the court.
“Also learnt that we have coaching problem but we are coming up. I learnt lots of things,” he said.
While commenting on the brilliant performance of his team during an exhibition game with the ABU Kings Basketball Team, he said he was amazed at the improvement recorded.
“Our players learnt some skills that we didn’t know about until the workshop, which we put into practice while playing the ABU Kings basketball team,” he said.
Other sponsors of the workshop are; Ahmadu Bello University Basketball Foundation (ABUBBF), Isa Umar Foundation, Ahmadu Musa Kids Foundation (AMKF), Choice Leisure Enterprises, Giants Of Africa (GOA), Timeout 4 Africa Education and Sports Foundation and Basketball For Peace (BB4P).
More sponsors are Univictors Northern Zone, Gikali Basketball, Friends Of Coach OBJ, Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) and Elevators Youth Development Academy.
The workshop was held from March 18 to 22 2019.