By Ikenna Nwokedi
Anambra State Basketball Association in collaboration with the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) ably supported by the Anambra State Sports Development Commission (ASSDC) have commenced a two-day NBBF Referee/Table Officials’ Clinic and Training at the Ekwueme Square Awka, Anambra State.
A total of 35 officials from the zone are currently undergoing training under the tutelage of Sam Nuhu, a Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) Certified Referee based in Abuja.
Chairman, Anambra State Basketball Association, Ugo Udezue disclosed that the clinic is aimed at bridging the gap in the lack of qualified officials in the state and the zone in the aspect of officiating the game. He said: “Basketball development has been an issue, we want to do a lot but we have to start from the beginning as we don’t have referees and enough coaches to create or propagate any league. Essentially we want to raise the caliber of men and women who will be well-grounded regarding rules of the game as we anticipate reinventing the game from the primary and secondary schools before moving on to the second phase which is creating events for basketball in the state,” Udezue said.
Meanwhile, NBBF Coordinator southeast zone and Secretary, South East Basketball Association, Osondu Ngwude lauded the ASSDC for the technical support in providing the venue for the clinic. “We thank the ASSDC and its Chairman, Tony Oli, for supporting us morally and technically by making available the Alex Ekwueme Square Awka for use, I can say for sure that a relationship has been struck. We are optimistic that at the end of this training, we will have trained umpires and table officials who will help in the development of the game in the southeast zone and with this, the era of engaging officials from places like Lagos and Abuja will come to an end as we will now have ours doing the job and in furtherance, they will have the opportunity to officiate at the big stage at the national level and outside the shores,” he said.
Also reacting, Chairman ASSDC, Tony Oli emphasized that for the game to grow in the state and the region, is it of utmost importance to have officials who understand the tenets and rules of the game as well as get acquainted with the current trends in the game. He eulogized Ugo Udezue for ensuring he engaged the best in the form of Sam Nuhu, a FIBA Certified Referee.