Almost 9,000 Secondary Schools began the journey but only 74 are left standing as the 18th edition of the Milo basketball championship enters crucial stages.
Now split into four geographic groups, the 37 boys teams and 37 girls’ teams who emerged state champions will compete in round-robin tournaments to determine those which teams go even further.
Action begins in Lagos today as the National Stadium in Lagos, which hosted the grand finale in the last 17 years, now hosts the Western Conference Games. The matches will run until Wed. May 4, 2016.
Participating states are Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Edo, Oyo, Osun, Delta and Ekiti states. Ilupeju Grammar School and Wesley Girls Secondary School, will be representing Lagos State while Greater Tomorrow Int’l College, Akoko will be representing Ondo State in the boys category. Henson Demonstration School and Idia College are the qualifiers from Edo State while Oyo State Champions are International School Ibadan and Yejide Girls’ Grammar School.
Other qualifiers for the Western Conference are Good Tidings Secondary School, Oshogbo and Regina Mundi Girls’ School, Iwo who qualified from Osun State while Delta State is being represented by Osadenis Mixed Sec. School and Ugborikoko Secondary Schl, Asaba .
Two schools from the capital city, Ado Ekiti , Ado Grammar School and Anglican High School will represent Ekiti State and Ogun State champions Greenlands International Academy and Adedokun International School of Abeokuta complete the number.
The Conference matches will run back-to-back with the Central Conference matches holding in Ilorin between May 5 and 12 while Confluence Conference matches will hold in Lokoja from May 13 to 20, 2016
The Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu will host Equatorial Conference games between Saturday May 21 and 27, 2016
For 18 years, the Nestle Milo Basketball Championship has remained the nation’s flagship grassroots competition which gives the Nigerian youth the opportunity to showcase their basketball skills.
Unlike the game of football which is dominated by the boys at the secondary schools level, Nestle Milo carefully chose the game of basketball to ensure both boys and girls get the same experience in the game and that more, importantly, they get the right foundation for development.
The President FIBA Africa Zone 3, Col. Sam Ahmedu (rtd) confirmed that Nigeria is already reaping the dividends of the Nestle Milo Basketball Championships in schools.
“Take a close look at the line up in our national teams- both men and women- you will observe that the products are from the Nestle Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship”.
Ahmedu recalled that what started 18 years ago as Nestle Milo Basketball Clinic later metamorphosed into a full-fledged championship.
According to Nestle’s Category Manager Beverages, Mr. Femi Akintola, “sport is a great teacher and children’s participation in sports helps set the foundation for a solid future. They learn determination to succeed, discipline to persevere and many more life values by participating in sports. We will continue to provide them this platform”
The grand finale of this year’s championship will hold in Asaba, Delta State and outstanding players will be invited for the top 50 camp by Nestle in Lagos in September.
The camp will be conducted by top NBA coaches to be led by Toronto Raptors’ General Manager, Masai Ujiri. A selection of players from the tournament will eventually represent Nigeria at an international tournament to be decided by the NSSF.