Team Kogi/Koto Karfe emerged winners of the 9th edition of the Justice Nasir Ajanah Inter-Local Government Area Basketball Championship after beating Team Okene 31-29 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 to dunk the winning points when both teams were tied on 29 points with 10 seconds to go.
Not even the combination of last season’s 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.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, President of the 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 the development of 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.
“This championship has been on for nine years and it keeps improving yearly. Hence our commitment to this laudable course. I am happy with this level of consistency and commitment and i 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 them become senior players in the national team,” Umar said.
Justice Ajanah who had ealier announced 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.
Ex D’Tigers captain, Olumide Oyedeji said the Ajanah basketball championship has given the youth of the state an opportunity to have a life in basketball.
“There is need for education because as we speak 75% of our players are school drop-outs which is painful. Life in 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.