In its attempt to develop the game of basketball in Nigeria, about 250 students were involved in the basketball clinic organised by Kwese Free Sports and for the General Manager Kwese Free TV, Chichi Nwoko, it was a huge success
It was a gathering of who is who as far as basketball is concerned, from former NBA players, Jerome Williams, and Olumide Oyedeji to the Senior Manager, Basketball Operations, NBA, Frank Traore.
â€œWe are impressed with the turnouts of the students that came for the basketball clinic. We are happy to provide this platform for the over 200 students that participated in the clinic. We had over 500 applications but we were able to accommodate about 250 students.
â€œWe reached out to a lot of basketball academies and schools in Lagos and a lot of them had knowledge about the game. We decided to engage those of them who are already grounded in the game. This is one step closer to their dream,â€ a delighted General Manager Kwese Free TV, Chichi Nwoko said.
Speaking further, she said, â€œWe are a sports channel and we decided to explore our partnership with the NBA to see what we can bring to the market to provide premium sports contents. This particular basketball clinic is to marry what we do on our international platform, we bring in those format and we try to see how we can also engage the kids. Not just showing the NBA to them, we want to give them the opportunity and experience to relate with what they watch and that was why we brought a former NBA star Jerome and other NBA executive here to Lagos.â€
Nwoko said Kwese Free Sport was the free channel operating 24 hours every day in Lagos and on UHF 32.
â€œThat means that you can turn on local sport station in essence. We carry premium content and we have the NBA, Premier League matches every Saturday and we will be broadcasting the 2018 World Cup. We have the right too,â€ she said.
Continuing she said, â€œAt Kwese TV, we are proud of our community and that is why we are giving back to our immediate society. We are Nigeria but we are also in 24 key markets because we are the largest pan-African pay tv that broadcast for free. In the next few years, we would be all over Africa.â€
Former NBA play, Olumide Oyedeji, lauded as a great initiative Kwese Free Sportsâ€™ development of basketball in Nigeria.
â€œIâ€™m glad to be part of the programme and Iâ€™m proud to be a member of the NBA family. With Kwese Sports, basketball is going to develop in Nigeria and that will give the game more popularity in the country.
â€œHopefully, we get more companies doing what Kwese Sports is doing to basketball because it make the fans and the players feel appreciated,â€ Oyedeji noted.
On his part, former NBA player, Jerome Williams, thanked the NBA for allowing him to come to Nigeria. “It was my first time coming to Nigeria. I participated in the basketball without borders in 2003 and 2005 in South Africa. And it has been just a very wonderful experience. I have truly enjoyed myself. Seeing the energy and excitement from these kids was just awesome.
â€œFor me, I could do this all day because of the enthusiasm that the kids showed. The kids were excited, they were alive and when you get that feedback as a player or as a coach, it makes you stronger.
â€œIt makes you want to continue helping. And I wonâ€™t have taken my eyes passing through sports without partners like this in NBA, who without them these kids will not have this kind of opportunity. I really appreciate what NBA have here and Kwese TV for broadcasting NBA in Nigeria and the whole of Africa and from bring NBA personalities to the kids to feel it.
“There is potential here in Nigeria and if I was here for 30 days and I am sure that 30 per cent of the people here are on scholarships. So many kids here have natural God given talents,â€ Williams said.
Senior Manager, Basketball Operations, NBA, Frank Traore , expressed his excitement to be at the basketball clinic which he described as a great initiative in sport, just as he said they are looking forward to having a direct occasion to draw the game of basketball in Africa and particularly in Nigeria.
â€œThese kids are playing passionately and they are very hungry for the game. We can see that these kids need more of this. For sure, with hard work and dedication we can excel.
â€œThe NBA league season will start on October 17 and this is the perfect time to start rolling and going closer to it. I am very glad that Jerome took time out of his schedule to join us and also work with the kids. He bonded all and he could do this for five hours. We are grateful to Jerome and Kwese TV for helping the kids to appreciate basketball the more,â€ he said.
Highlights of the clinic include participants worked on basic right and left-handed lay-ups and jump shooting fundamentals. Jump Stops/Pivots and ball handling and dribbling fundamentals.
KwesÃ© Free Sports is Africaâ€™s largest and only Pan-African Free-To-Air channel available in more than 24 countries in Africa. It offers live premium sports viewing to fanatics across Africa for free. It could be watched on Set Top Box (STB) or digital TV with no subscription fee. Viewers can also live stream the channel onÂ www.kwese.espn.com.
The students were all elated to see the NBA stars some of whom they have been watching live on television.
According to one of the participants, Femi Kayode, he said, “I will forever be grateful to the organisers for making my dream come true. It was beyond my comprehension that I will one day come face to face with a NBA star.”