The game of netball will take centre stage on the 57th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence with Nigeria’s leading netball club, BNB, hosting visiting Accra Golden Maidens of Ghana in the first of a two-legged home and away series between both countries.
The event being organised by the Lagos State Sports Commission and BNB (Bringing Netball Back) is part of designs to create awareness for the sport as well as option variety and more opportunity for women in sports.
The 25-man delegate from Ghana will be led by the President of Ghana Netball Federation, Rev Emmanuel D. Nikoi, and his Vice, Johannes W. Prah.
Nikoi has expressed excitement about the event, describing it as the first of many to come between Ghanaian and Nigerian clubs and an opportunity to re-visit history, when the academia of Nigeria and Ghana played frequent netball matches in the 1970s.
The President of BNB, Abimbola Smith, is particularly delighted at the prospect of the club’s first International match and has expressed gratitude to the LSSC for its continued support of netball and the BNB over the past five years.
While Nigeria plays host on October 1 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, for the first meet, Ghana is expected to take its turn on October 6 next year when Nigeria goes over.
Tagged “West Africa Netball Fest”, “the underlying mission is to increase participation in netball across schools in Lagos as well as to encourage the emergence of netball clubs across Nigeria”, the organisers have said.
The offering also includes a “train the trainers” workshop on Monday, October 2, with over 50 schools sports teachers and games mistresses expected to participate.
This segment of the programme is to be facilitated by the Secretary of the Nigerian Netball Federation, Ms. Hellen Manufor, who herself is an ex-England netball player.
Flowing from the clinic, BNB has assured that it will equip the participants to introduce and run netball programs in their respective schools.
Other gains of the Independence Day Holiday Netball Program include to enhance international understanding and goodwill through netball, maintain, encourage and develop the highest standards of good sportsmanship among players of both nations, improve the popularity and quality of netball played in Nigeria and increase the numbers of players and fans of netball in the country.