In fulfilment of his promise to host the Air Warriors of Lagos for emerging champions of the Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League, youth and sports development minister, Sunday Dare, has promised to sponsor two players from the victorious team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics .
The minister made this pledge while receiving the players in his office at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, even as he expressed delight in their debut in the tournament.
“It is very exciting to receive the Air Warriors Basketball Club. When I watched them in Lagos, I saw a team with talents and skills and predicted that they would go a long way.
“Their story is very compelling as it was their first time competing in the basketball league and they came out unbeaten. No team has ever set that record. That is hugely commendable.”
The minister said the decision to sponsor two members of the team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is to ensure that they have first-hand experience while learning from D’Tigers and D’Tigress.
He assured that the Nigerian Basketball Federation would work closely with the team to make them stronger.
Dare, while attributing Air Warriors’ success to the role of private investors and individuals, urged others to come on board to make sports a viable business. “If you look at their narrative, they are supported by a private individual not government, not the sports ministry but with a bit of logistics support by NBBF. This says a lot about the role private individuals can play in developing our sports, discovering talents and nurturing them.”
In his response, the Chairman/CEO of Air Warriors, Abduldumajeed Solademi thanked the Minister for honouring the team, describing him as a father.
Solademi said the reception will further motivate the players and himself to do more for sports generally.