By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON, Kaduna.
In its bid at bringing a new lease of life for university sports, the Nigeria University Games (NUGA) Basketball has concluded a sponsorship arrangement with the Ahmadu Musa Kida (AMK) Foundation to begin an annual 3-Aside Basketball Tournament from 2017.
This was disclosed to newsmen in Kaduna on Monday by the NUGA Basketball Chairman, Professor Adamu Ahmed, who sees the sponsorship as the most formidable breakthrough for university basketball and the NUGA games format, expressing optimism that it will bring new lease of life in university sports.
He explained that a total of 75 universities are expected to participate in the maiden edition in 2017 making it the largest gathering of basketball teams in Nigeria, scheduled in two categories of men and women.
“The maiden edition is slated to hold through two qualifying rounds at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) from February 16 to 19 and the Ahmadu Bello University from Feb 23 to 25, while the final is billed for Abuja from March 2 to 4, where the teams that qualify would battle for honours.
“A total of 43 teams are expected to compete at the UNILAG centre and 32 at the ABU centre.
“Five men and five women teams are to qualify from each centre to the final round of 10 men and 10 women teams at Abuja,” he explained.
Professor Ahmed while speaking further, said that the AMK- NUGA 3 Aside tournament is one step towards instituting single sport annual tournaments to keep university students active year round.
“AMK Foundation says it is proud to provide support for this transition, with its President having also suffered from the inadequacies of the bi annual NUGA format while playing active basketball at ABU.
“NUGA has historically maintained a bi annual all comers games which has been criticized for limiting player development within the university system,” he emphasized.
The AMK Foundation is a non profit charity organization with interest in youths empowerment through sports. President of the Foundation Engr Musa Ahmadu Kida, is a former senior National Basketball player and Board member of the Nigeria Basketball Federation. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the ABU Basketball Foundation.
It would be recalled that AMK Foundation has for two years running been the sole sponsor of the West Africa 3 Aside basketball tournament.
The foundation has also been the sponsor of the South- South 3 Aside Basketball championship for two years, and last year, the IDP 3 Aside classics at Maiduguri.
The NUGA Basketball Chairman said that the annual tournament will be used to select Nigeria’s team to the Global University 3 Aside tournament each year.
Professor Ahmed is one time National Basketball team player and Chairman Technical Committee of the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
Added attractions at the AMK NUGA 3-Aside tournament are 3 points shooting and dunking competitions.