Netball: Encouraging Young Girls Into Sports in Lagos State.

Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Sports, Deji Tinubu, has described netball as a way of encouraging more girls into sports in Lagos State.

He said this during an interview with at the West African Netball Clubs’ Fest which took place at the Molade Okoya Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium. He stated that the Lagos State Sports Commission is looking for avenues to encourage more girls into sports and have chosen to work with netball because of its gender sensitivity towards girls.

In addition, he described netball as an easy to learn sport, not rough, cheap in terms of equipment and also described it as a means of getting kids off the streets. He further described the event as a massive step in a bid to bring back netball to Lagos State and said it wouldn’t be a onetime thing.

He hopes in the near future every girls’ school in the state would have a netball team that can compete against each other in school championships, and this would transcend into clubs at different levels to produce a State team that can challenge or at least put the state on a level par with the Ghanaians who encourage every school girl to play netball.

In conclusion he also hopes that the successful execution of plans to promote netball in the state, would motivate other states to follow en-suite. The event which was organised by the Lagos State Sports Commission in conjunction with the Bringing Netball Back (BNB) Lagos team was a friendly match between the BNB Lagos based team and the Golden Maidens of Accra. It also had in attendance Hellen Manufor of the Nigerian Netball Federation, and school girls from various public schools within the state.

Excerpts from his interview are as follows:

“It’s a massive step because we’ve got the BNB girls over the last couple of years trying to bring netball back into Lagos State so this is a massive step forward. You saw the school girls that came-the kid thing. What we are trying to do at the Lagos State Sports Commission is to encourage more girls to go into sports and in doing that we looked at netball and we felt that would attract them more than football or one of the other sports because it’s gender specific.

Guys don’t play netball only girls play netball so they are not going to be competing with the guys for space and again it’s not a rough sport, easy to learn, in terms of equipment easy, cheap as well so we feel it’s something they would be attracted to. We get more ladies in sport give them a lot more attention and we would be getting a lot more kids off the street.

The Ghanaians have been playing and I hear every school plays netball in Ghana so obviously they’ve got a pathway, that’s why they’ve got a very good team. So hopefully in the near future we get every girl school to play netball in Lagos and we get a very good team that can challenge the Ghanaians at least put us on a level par and then we can have school championships, we can have clubs and hopefully grow fantastic netball in Lagos and in the country”.