The Association of Former Female Athletes in Nigeria (AFFAN) has unveiled the first Netball Court in Nigeria to develop the sport from the grassroots.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the unveiling ceremony of the first netball court and equipment was held at the Old Parade Ground on Saturday in Abuja.
The unveiling ceremony was tagged: ‘#AFFAN revamps netball’.
The President of the AFFAN, Esther Aluko, told newsmen that the aim of the association was to revive the sport in the country.
According to her, the mission of the association is to develop the sport in all six geopolitical zones so as to make the game popular in every state.
“We want the game to be known in all primary and tertiary schools in the country because this is where we can get raw talent. We will organised more competitions to catch them young,” she said.
She said the first thing is to create awareness of the sports in the country.
She said that the sport was in existence in the years 60s and 70s, but it died because of a lack of facilities.
“I played netball in the 60s in primary school and I played netball in the 70s in the secondary schools.
“We don’t have the netball courts and basketball came and kill the sport and took over even the few existing courtyards.
“We need a permanent netball court. We have spoken to the officials of FCT secondary school boards, and they have assured us that they will give us three secondary schools per each Abuja council area,” she said.
Aluko, who is also the Secretary of the Nigeria Netball Federation said they are sending out equipment to zonal areas to develop the sport.
“The sports we have no facilities and without facilities, we cannot develop any sports. The essence of having this court in Abuja is to create awareness.
“We are sending out the equipment to primary, secondary schools and zonal centres for them to be able to construct net court neighborhood.
“It is important for us to spread the game of netball to the states. We can’t just stay here in Abuja and say that Netball is back. This is just an official launch.
“We have already received demands from some clubs from the States and some potential institutions to get this equipment.
“We need the facilities to build infrastructures to spread the game in the neighborhood; we are working hard as an association to develop our goal which is to revive the sport in Nigeria.”
NAN reports that the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) defeated AFFAN by 22-20 in a demonstration at the unveiling ceremony.
The AFFAN also donated netball equipment, including netball balls, rims/nets, and training bibs, to all the six geopolitical zones in the country. (NAN)