President of Crown Elite Basketball Championships, Harison Oguche, yesterday said the ongoing 2022 edition of the competition was organised to cater for the elite women in basketball.
Oguche told the news men that the essence of the competition was to grow the game of basketball and help women to navigate a path for themselves.
He said that aside the competition, there were no fewer than eight elite women clubs participating as well as holding a section for mentoring and inspiring the women through motivational speakers.
“Women in basketball have definitely brought out the best of our youths at local and international levels, especially by winning Afrobasket Championships and competing in global and Olympic tournaments.
“We want to use the opportunity to inspire future champions, especially those playing at the elite league level across Africa.
“We have the interactive sections where motivational speakers can interact and impact the women on the importance of education in their lives.
“We are so glad with the results so far as many of the women are into buying and selling and are basically young entrepreneurs themselves. Indeed it is a worthwhile effort,” he said.
Oguche, a product of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, told news men that being a graduate of Engineering had helped him to achieve more after his career in basketball.
He said this was why he was motivated to create a section where ex-internationals who had achieved beyond the scope of the game could come and inspire the coming generations.
According to him, the response has been terrific as the women have used the platform to be interactive and communicate areas where they need directions.
“Personally, I just want to use basketball as a tool to develop the young women, because I believe that a life after basketball is very important and a lot must be put into education.
“For us at Crown Elite, it is an opportunity to give back to the community and to empower our women and make them more financially independent in their decision as they navigate their paths in life,”Oguche said.
No fewer than seven teams from Nigeria and a team from Togo are participating in this year’s edition.
The competition, which began on Sunday, will end on Saturday at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos.
Glad Augustine, the team captain of Black Gold from Abia, said the basketball tournament had helped them to achieve a lot.
She told news men that the interactive session had been helpful as “it is new and the players have really gained from all they have learnt.’’
She said she was working hard to embrace education and basketball as useful tools that could make her successful in life.
“This is unique and it is very impactful. I have really enjoyed every moment. Indeed, becoming a successful individual in the future depends on education and the decision we take today,” Augustine said.
Mary Ganokwo of Kada Angels said she was confident of a good outing and her team could go all the way to win the first prize money.
“We (Kada Angels of Kaduna) beat Black Gold 65-57 to record our first win in the competition and with two games to go in the group stage, we are very confident of a good outing.
“It feels so inspiring to see ex-internationals come back to invest in the youths, especially in basketball.
“And in this year’s edition, it has been so inspiring due to the motivational speakers who came to impact us in areas we can achieve good success outside basketball.
“The overall is that it has been a holistic objective in making us better and responsible adults in the future,” Ganokwo said.
In another match, Bayelsa Strong defeated Raptors of Lagos 49-38.