President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijani Umar, presenting trophy to First Deepwater Basketball Club’s Nkechi Akashili, winner of the Zenith Bank League’s MVP award
The initiator of the Three-on-Three Basketball competition in Nigeria, Brigadier General, Shehu Yusuf has declared that this year's edition which has been scheduled to hold in December will be unique as the event would not only have foreign players participating, it will also be played on a synthetic court.
Yusuf, who is Commander of 13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Calabar, is also the vice-chairman of the Nigeria Squash Rackets Association. He noted that, the venue of the competition remains the Akim Barracks in the Canaan City.
“We have been doing a lot to ensure that sports in developed in Calabar. After a thorough analysis, we found out that, we should support squash and basketball.
“For basketball, we chose to support the recreation basketball through the Three-on-Three Basketball competition which the Cross State Government has given its full blessing and has decided to make it a programme in the yearly Calabar Carnival for 2012.
“For the competition, we shall be inviting players from the United States of America and other parts of the world. It is very important and I am urging Nigerians to take it serious as the Three-on-Three Basketball will be played in the 2016 Olympic Games. If the country is committed to the event, before we know it, Nigeria may win gold.”
Yusuf added that: “The Three-on-Three is aimed to enable everybody who has the desire to play basketball to participate. If we make the competition conventional basketball, then it would be limited to only the professional players only.
“I was in the US and I saw the impact of the Three-on-Three basketball competition on the people. That is why I brought the idea to Nigeria and Calabar in particular where we held a fantastic championship last December.”
The next edition of the competition will be coming up this December in Calabar at the basketball court of the Akim Army Barracks.
“This time around, we shall be using a synthetic court which is coming in from the United States of America. One of my friends, Col. Sam Ahmedu (rtd) is helping out with the logistics and in the next few months, the synthetic court will arrive.
“This I believe strongly will change the psyche of the people for the better.”
The Brigade Commander stressed that he has a great passion for sports, as he has participated in national sports in the past.
“At the Oluyole ’79 Festival, I played basketball as a junior player. I was involved in athletics at the NUGA Games and played tennis in the Armed Forces Games. So, all these are driving my passion to develop sports in and around my environment.”