Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Basketball Star Out With Plans for Girls

IN a bid to make a difference in Africa through sports for young women, former Nigeria Olympian in basketball, Mobolaji Akiode, has come with a week-long female basketball clinic tagged Hope For Girls in Nigeria.

The event which will attract not less then 60 girls from across the county holds from 1st - 5th August in Ogun State.

The Hope for Girls, Akiode said, is a youth development initiative for young women across the African continent especially in Nigeria to achieve their highest potential in love, health, education and career through the platform of sports.

Akiode, it would be recalled, joined the Female National Basketball team from 2004 - 07 competed in the Olympics 2004, Commonwealth Games 2005, World Championship 2006, African Nations Cup 2005, various club championships with First Bank and played in Europe. Akiode, a graduate of Fordham University in accounting is currently working as an accountant with ESPN world-wide leader in Sport since 2007.

She said the 60 young female basketball players were drawn from the last National Sports Festival tagged 'Kada 2009'. She also informed that the programme would be an annual event.

"My pet project, 'Hope for Girls in Nigeria' is a non-profit organisation (NGO) which uses sports as a medium to reach out to young women with the belief that the sky's the limit. It organises annual camps for young girls between ages of 13 -19 where aside from learning their sports, they will have the opportunity to share experience with their peers in a friendly atmosphere.

At these camps different social agenda will be greatly emphasized in order to create a well rounded programme. Our goal is to stress and encourage our campers to understand the importance of education, reading, team work, living a healthy lifestyle while being productive citizens of their respective communities", she said.

Other visions for the Hope for girls in Nigeria include capacity building in which workshops and programmes for indigenous female coaches and create mentors for female sports programmes apart from advocacy campaign that will work in close co-operation with other women right groups to push for gender equality and continual support emotionally and financially for increased participation of female athletes.

Speaking at a media briefing weekend, Commissioner for Sports in Ogun State, Bukola Olapade said, 'Hope For Girls' as a youth development initiative has come to stay and Ogun governments under the able leadership of Otunba Gbenga Daniels is always going to be in support of such laudable programmes initiated by their sons and daughters to contribute to the overall development of sports in Nigeria.

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