It is a dream come true for coach Emmanuel Biodun Tanko, head coach of Father O’Connell Science College, Minna, Niger State, as his team defeated their counterparts from Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT in the final of the boys’ category in the just concluded Central Conference of the MILO Basketball Championship.
According to Coach Tanko, his team lost to the same opponents last year in the same championship. On the team’s preparation on the road to victory this year, Coach Tanko said, “We had a 70-day period of training. During Ramadan, we were there. It is a testimony that hard work pays off. Also, without God, we would not have been able
to achieve this feat.”
Captain of the winning team from Father O’Connell Science College, Minna, Niger State, Mahmood Mustapha Mohammed, thanked Nestlé MILO for supporting and sponsoring them. The young man who says his dream is to play globally recognized stars in the National Basketball Association (NBA) one day, also said, “I want to give a big shout-out to our parents and coaches for always being there for us and believing in us, trusting that we will come back with the trophy.”
The boys from Father O’Connell Science College, Minna, Niger State fought hard in a keenly contested encounter to defeat the boys from Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT with 53 points to 49. They were therefore crowned champions in the boys’ category at the Central Conference of the 23rd MILO Secondary Schools Basketball
Championship was held in Abuja from the 12th to the 19th of May 2023.
In the final game of the girls’ category of the championship, Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT defeated their counterparts from Queen Amina College, Kakuri, Kaduna State by 35 points to 24 points. Both Father O’Connell Science College, Minna, Niger State, and Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT will represent the Central Conference at the national finals of the 23rd MILO Basketball Championship in Lagos in July.
Other teams who will be in Lagos for the national finals are winners from the already concluded Savannah Conference which was held in Kano from the 3rd to the 10th of May and winners from the two upcoming conferences – Atlantic Conference in Asaba from the 20th to 27th of May and Western Conference in Ibadan from May 30th to June 6th, 2023.
Category Manager for Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Olutayo Olatunji, reiterated Nestle’s commitment to developing talents, promoting healthier lifestyles, and instilling values for success in life through sports. “MILO, firmly believes that through participation in sports, children learn enduring values to help them achieve success in life,” he said.
“We are, therefore, pleased to have this opportunity to provide a platform where young talents find expression through MILO Secondary School Basketball Championship. On the field of play, the teams depend on the discipline,
perseverance, courage, self-belief, and respect that they imbibe during practice and through their interactions with each other. These life skills are not only for basketball; they equip the players to navigate their careers and to be productive in society.
In a nutshell, ‘the GRIT’ you learn in sport, you keep for life.” Nestlé Nigeria’s MILO Secondary School Basketball Championship has been promoting the value of grit for over 23 years, helping schoolchildren learn essential life skills such as resilience, persistence, stamina, cooperation, and self-belief. These values enable them to overcome challenges and achieve their goals in life.
Nestlé continues to lead grassroots sports development in Nigeria through its MILO Basketball Championship, contributing to the growth of many players in the Nigerian national teams, and notable clubs across the world today.
States who competed in the Central Conference of the MILO Basketball Championship at the Indoor Sports Hall, Package ‘B’ of the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja from the 12th to 19th of May, 2023 are Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, and host FCT.
Others are Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Benue and Sokoto states. The MILO Basketball Championship has grown tremendously from about 500 schools at its commencement in 1999. It now reaches over 150,000 individual players from over 10,000 schools across Nigeria every year.