BNB Club Seeks Support to Aid Development of Netball in Nigeria

The President of Bringing Netball Back Club (BNB), Bimbo Smith has commended the Lagos State Sports Commission for their continued support of netball while recognising the need to push for the sport to be played at the grassroots in order to develop the game further in Nigeria.

Speaking at the second edition of the West African Netball Clubs Festival which took place at the indoor sports hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Smith who was excited about the club playing competitive netball looked forward to extending the competition to other countries in the region.

Bringing Netball Back Club of Lagos hosted the Rising Stars Netball Club of Accra, Ghana in a double-header match on Saturday, January 12.

“BNB will be seven years in February and what I’m pleased about is how far we’ve come. When we started, we went out to different sponsors and others like the Lagos State Sports Commission, netball was like an alien sport, it was unheard of. In the last seven years, we’ve not only educated the public about this amazing sport but we also have of followership as well as people that are actually falling in love with netball just as we have.

“One of the things we are looking to do is to put together an association that can drive the growth of the sport especially at the grassroots and that’s one of the things we will be looking at this 2019. We need to go through the rigours of the politics of putting something like that together but we are looking to work with whoever can work with us and all the stakeholders to make it work” said Smith.

Both Clubs put forward two teams in a two-match fixture. In the first match of the day, Rising Stars lead by the narrowest of margins throughout the encounter but were able to pull away from BNB club in the last quarter to emerge clear winners with 20 to 14 scoreline.

The 1st teams of both clubs clashed in the second match and it was Rising Stars that established a 5-goal lead at the end of the first quarter. BNB fought back in the second and third quarters but the hosts could not keep up with the stamina and pace of the visitors despite starting the fourth quarter with so much confidence. Rising sealed the improbable victory 36-25.

Netball is the fastest growing team sport for women and girls, worldwide, the West African Netball Clubs Fest which commenced in October 2017 been a platform to foster a netball relationship between Nigeria and Ghana.

According to the President of the Netball Federation of Ghana, Reverend Emmanuel Nikoi said the championship was an opportunity to expose the Rising Stars feeders team players for the Ghanaian national team.

Nikoi who lead the 24-man delegate from Ghana explained that facilities and funding are some of the hindrance facing the growth of Netball in West Africa.

“Netball in Southern part of Africa is growing very well. South Africa is number five ranked netball playing country in the world and I think Malawi is the number six so we need West Africa to put ourselves up and bring netball in the region to an enviable level.

“This is the reason we are in collaboration with Bringing Netball Back club of Nigeria to have bi-annual tournament twice in a year in order to bring up netball in West Africa and we are planning, we’ve been discussing with others countries to have a bigger championship very soon, maybe before the end of the year so that together the West African countries can raise the standard of the game and go ahead of South Eastern and those in Central Africa.

“The challenge of Netball in West Africa is the availability of facilities like the one we have here. This kind of venue is not found in many West African countries. The other is funding to aid the development of the sport. With adequate funding and sponsorship, development will be fast-tracked in West Africa especially those in the ECOWAS region and move forward” Nikoi explained.

The 2018 West African Netball Clubs Open championship sponsored by Jumia Foods and Hubmart Stores and supported by the Lagos State Sports Commission.

Dignitaries who witnessed the tournament includes Executive Chairman, LSSC Dr. Kewku Tandoh who presented the trophies to the winning teams from Ghana and Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee,  Mr Olabanji Oladapo who was represented by Mrs Deborah Chidobi who presented trophies to the Most Valuable players of both matches  – Elizabeth Kwame and Regina Tetteh, both of them shooters from the Rising Stars Club.