Team Kogi has emerged winners of the 9th edition of the Justice Nasir Ajanah lnter Local Government Area Basketball Championship after beating Team Okene 31-29 points in a competitive game decided at the outdoor court of the Okene Club, in Okene, Kogi State.
The winners came from behind after trailing in all the quarters before the Most Valuable Player of the championship, Azolibe Chijioke stole the show by dunking the winning points when both teams were tied on 29 points with 10 seconds to go.
Not even the combination of last season MVP David Edward and Gombe Bulls’ lbeabuchi Agu, whose three pointers in the first quarters gave Team Okene a 15-3 points lead before Team Kogi bounced back to tie in the second quarter, could save the Okene boys.
President Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijjani Umar, who watched the finals hailed the improvement of the championship, while calling on the government of Kogi State to improve in its commitment to develop the game and facilities in the state. He spoke against the background of N1million donation made by Kogi State Governor, Yaya Bello to the annual championship.
Umar said: “ I am happy with the show of commitment for basketball development and capacity building for the youth that the Ajanah championship has entrenched over the years. This championship has entered nine years and it keeps improving yearly. I am happy with his level of consistency and commitment and call on the Kogi State government to do more in the area of basketball development. What Ajanah is doing is capacity building and I encourage the younger players to aspire and focus on education while l hope to see some of the senior players in the national team.”
Justice Ajanah who announced that the state governor’s donation, said he was happy with the calibre of players that participated in the edition stating that the governor’s donation is a step to show that the state is already involved in basketball development.This championship brings unity of purpose for the players, ensures development of our youths for brighter future.”
Former captain of D’Tigers, Olumide Oyedeji said the Ajanah basketball championship had given youths opportunity to have a life in basketball.
“There is need for education. Because as we speak 75 percent of our players are school dropouts, which is painful. Life of basketball is short, the season is really short between 6 to 7 months maximum. Education makes you super and talent makes you a star. So, education plus talent makes you a superstar. The truth is someday even if you don’t want to leave basketball, basketball will leave you,” he cautioned.