* New Season Dunks Off April 10
The 2017 Zenith Bank Basketball League has been scheduled to start on April 10 in Abuja with the financial institution committing N35m to the sponsorship of the competition.
The Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, on Tuesday at the Zenith Corporate headquarters in Lagos told newsmen that contributing to the development of the basketball game over the years was a delight to the organization.
Onyeagwu said: “We take sports seriously and that is why we have been with basketball for this long period. It is a delight that many of the players have developed to represent Nigeria at international competitions and that is a success story for us.
“There have been testimonies of players discovered through the league who are now playing abroad. This has given us joy that the initiative we started from humble beginning has grown to become a very big league.
“We will continue to support the initiative, we have already signed on for the next three years, for as long as we see the continued professionalism there, we don’t see reason why we will stop the relationship because you don’t stop a winning team. We believe our collaboration is a winning one and our youths have now got commitment and we can only but make it bigger.”
Responding, the President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Tijjani Umar, thanked the sponsors for having faith in the federation. “It is not very easy for partnership to be together for so long, I really want to thank Zenith Bank for standing by us for the past 13 years till this moment. I was privileged to be a board member when it all started in 2005 and remarkably, it has been moving from strength to strength.
“In the eight years God has given me the opportunity to lead the board, it has blossomed, and today, I am part of the success story of the Zenith Bank’s sponsorship of the national women basketball league. When we started, we have five teams competing, but after 13 years, we now have 18 teams competing which shows how far we have gone.”
He also disclosed that the success of the league has generated interest among Nigerians as about six teams have applied to the federation to be part of it, adding, “We are looking at a situation where we have to create a second tier league to care of the six new teams and the six weakest ones in the league while the top 12 teams will form the new Premier League like it is with the men’s league”.