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Cross River to establish netball in schools

The Cross River State Government has pledged to establish netball in schools across the 18 local government areas of the state.

This was disclosed by the State’s Commissioner for Education, Sen. Stephen Odey, during a two-day netball training session organised by Community Sports and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative on 2nd and 3rd May 2024, at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar.

Speaking shortly after the training, Odey who was represented by Mr Orlando Asuquo, Director of School Sports in the Ministry, thanked CSED for introducing netball to schools in the state, adding that, “when the letter came, it was like it was not going to work because they were looking for 99.99 per cent of female. We thought we might not have it, and it was as if we were discouraging them. But they insisted.

“I’m happy that with God by our side we were able to push and see that we were able to get what you have seen today. It’s a welcomed development.”

He said, “Already, I have discussed with coach Edema that we need a comprehensive list of those that have been given the equipment and attend the training. Definitely, we are going to do the follow-up. We will visit the schools as soon as we get the list. We will continue to communicate with the principals and we’ll pay them a surprise visit to see that it is established in their respective schools.

“I thank God that the Sports Commission is involved, and they have also gotten their equipment. We are happy that His Excellency, Senator Prince Bassey Otu is interested in sports. You know when the head is sick the entire body is sick and when the head is alive the body will be alive, so, I was happy that we have a sports-loving governor. I believe that we will establish it.”

He said they are going to follow up on schools in Calabar, Akpabuyo and Akamkpa for now.

Cross River to establish netball in schools

On his part, Mr Moses Ita, Director of Sports, Cross River State Sports Commission, also urged the participants to make good use of the knowledge gained during the training. Their post-training actions will lead to the development of the game of netball in the state.

He said that netball will soon become a medal event in the National Sports Festival.

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He promised to help spread the sport to schools in other local government areas that were not represented in the training.

Cross River to establish netball in schools
Mr Edema Fuludu, National Coordinator of CSED (2nd Right) with some of the beneficiaries

The National Coordinator of CSED, Mr Edema Fuludu, in an interview with journalists, said 38 game masters were trained from various schools, including three from refugee camps in Ogoja.

He said the NGO hopes to train over 1,200 Physical Education (PE) teachers in netball as well as create awareness for one million school girls in Nigeria.

This game is primarily for girls and so we use sports as a tool to improve literacy and empower the girl child – that’s what we are doing and today we are in Calabar, Cross River State. It’s a 2-day workshop. We have about 38 participants who came here from the schools. We have 3 from the UNHCR camp in Ogoja. We have done cricket there so we invited them at our own cost so that they can train and also improve on the system there.

Cross River to establish netball in schools

“As I’m talking to you, we’ve gone to Bayelsa, Enugu, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Taraba, Akwa Ibom state. So this is the 8th state so far. We are hoping that the people will be enthusiastic and learn about it. It’s not going to be a waste because when you empower the girl child you touch a family.

“We have a project 2027 and the idea is to train at least 1,200 PE teachers as well as get one million school girls to be aware of netball within the Niger Delta and the rest of Nigeria,” Fuludu said.

Cross River to establish netball in schools
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Thomas Idrah, Vice Principal of Government Secondary School, Akansoko in Akpabuyo Local Government, with the netball kits distributed by CSED

One of the beneficiaries of the netball training and Vice Principal of Government Secondary School Akansoko in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the State, Mr Thomas Idrah, promised to establish the game of netball in his school while thanking CSED for the training opportunity.

He said: “I was the game master when I was in Akim, but now I am at Government Secondary School Akansoko under Akpabuyo local government. I am the Vice Principal there. As we don’t have a professional there I still oversee sports in the school. That’s why I am here.

“It’s unfortunate that Physical and Health Education teachers are scarce. You can’t find them in all the schools. Some of the schools that don’t have professionals have decided to convert most of the teachers that have an interest in sports, they may not be professional, to oversee sports activities in the school. Some few schools still have professionals which is why some of us who are vice principals now we still coordinate sports activities in our various schools.

“Training like this will help us improve. Personally, I have a very serious interest. I am hearing about this game for the first time, even as a professional. In physical and health education we classify all games that have to do with the net, like volleyball, lawn tennis, and table tennis. Initially, when I heard netball I thought it was one of those games, but surprisingly I came and met a different thing. The training is quite interesting. I will do everything possible to see that I establish it in my school.”

Cross River to establish netball in schools

CONVERSEER reports that 38 participants from various secondary schools in the state, as well as three Cameroonian refugees who represented the Cameroon community based in Adagom 1, Adagom 3, and Ukende Camps in Ogoja local government area, were trained in the two-day exercise.

The training was facilitated by Fuludu and Dr Grace Ataha and supported by Ifiok Inim (an Uyo-based secondary School PE Teacher).

Dr Ping Osaji Nsagha of the Human Kinetic Department of the University of Calabar was one of the newly trained netball coaches while two students of the University of Uyo also benefitted from the free netball training that used a manual that was developed by Ambassador Mary Waya (a Netball Africa certified instructor).

The trained netball coaches were provided with a free sports shirt that was donated by Lord’s Taverners (a UK-based charity).

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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