Journalism of Courage

Nestlé Nigeria’s 22 years of driving grassroots sports

Nestlé at the news conference heralding the event held the draws to determine the pattern of play at the finals of the 2022 MILO Secondary Schools’ Basketball Championships.

On Thursday, June 30, 2022, the final of the 22nd Nestle Milo Basketball Championships will be played, marking over two decades Nestle Nigeria Plc has been driving grassroots sports development in the country.

The companies announced at a news conference on Monday in Lagos that activities leading up to the final would commence at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos from June 25 to July 1, 2022, exhibiting games which will be played in both the girls’ and boys’ categories.

Nestlé at the news conference heralding the event held the draws to determine the pattern of play at the finals of the 2022 MILO Secondary Schools’ Basketball Championships.

Twelve teams will play in the finals: six each in the male and female categories.

The finalists include Government Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa State; Akpur College, Gboko, Benue State; St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa State; David Hall College, Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos State; Government Girls Secondary School, Bukavu, Kano State; and Queen Amina College, Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna State in the girls category.

In the boy’s category are Dutse Model International Secondary School, Jigawa State; Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT; King Amachree Academy, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Topfield College, Ajugunle, Apapa, Lagos; Victorroti Private Secondary School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State and Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Obom, Bayelsa State.

The Championships started this year with over 10,000 teams participating at the state preliminaries. The winners from the first stage went on to the Regional Conference stage where the finalists who will play in the National Finale emerged.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Mr Wassim El-Husseini told the news conference: “For over two decades now, Nestlé has been at the forefront of grassroots sports development in Nigeria through the Nestlé MILO Secondary Schools’ Basketball Championships.

“We continue to do our utmost to help shape a healthier and happier generation of Nigerians by encouraging them to participate in sporting activities.

“MILO Basketball Championship also provides a platform to help children imbibe values that set the right foundation for their future. They learn grit – perseverance through hardship, courage to overcome fear, ability to work in a team, self-belief, respect, and leadership.’’,mm

Also, the Category Manager, Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Mr Olutayo Olatunji said: “The MILO Basketball Championships now brings together over 10,000 schools every year. This Championships started with less than 500 schools in 1999.

“The school game has grown beyond being just a sport to a passion that helps to discipline the body and mind. We thank our long-standing partners who have been part of the success of the MILO Basketball Championships for these 22 editions – the Nigerian Schools Sports Federation (NSSF) and the National Collegiate Sports Foundation (NCSF)’’.

According to the National President of the Nigeria Schools’ Sports Federation, Olabisi Joseph, Nestlé Nigeria Plc has made significant contributions to the growth of sports in Nigeria and the creation of a bright future for young people by supporting and promoting basketball in schools.

She also said, “Every year, our schoolboys and girls look forward to participating in the biggest grassroots basketball championships in Africa, which is fondly called MILO Basketball.’’

Mr Lanre Balogun, Executive Secretary of the National Collegiate Sports Foundation(NSSF), who also spoke at the press conference said: “This Championships continues to grow from strength to strength, thanks to the commitment of our sponsors, Nestlé Nigeria Plc.

“We will all agree that 22 years of continuous sponsorship in the life of any organisation is highly commendable and worthy of emulation. Therefore, Nestlé Nigeria Plc deserves all the accolades for maintaining the sponsorship of this event.’’

The draws grouped the six teams in the girls’ and boys’ categories each into groups ‘A’ and ‘B’. In the girls’ category, St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa State, Government Girls Secondary School, Bukavu, Kano State and Queen Amina College, Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna State will play in group A.

David Hall College, Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos State, Government Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa State and Akpur College, Gboko, Benue State and will play in group B.

In the boys’ category, Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT, Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Obom, Bayelsa State and Victorroti Private Secondary School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State will play in group A.

In group B are Topfield College, Ajugunle, Apapa, Lagos, King Amachree Academy, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Dutse Model International Secondary School, Jigawa State, will play in group B.

To determine the finalists, the first Conference – Savanna Conference – was hosted at the Sanni Abacha Stadium, Kano, from May 7 to May 13 2022. The states that make up this Conference are: Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Zamfara, Gombe, Katsina, Bauchi and Jigawa and host Kano.

The girls from Government Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa, won in the girls’ category, while the boys from Dutse Model International Secondary School, Jigawa, won in the boys’ category.

The championships then moved to the Ilorin Township Stadium, in the Kwara capital, for the Central Conference from May 14 to May 20. The states invited to play at the Central Conference are Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and host Kwara.

Akpur College, Gboko, Benue, emerged champions in the girls’ category, while Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT, won in the boys’ category.

The Equatorial Conference was hosted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu from May 21 to May 27 2022 with Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and Anambra and host Enugu making up the states.

St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa, won in the girls’ category, while King Amachree Academy, Port Harcourt, Rivers, won in the boys’ category.

The fourth and final Conference – Western Conference – was hosted at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital from May 28 to June 3.

The Conference comprises: Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Osun and Kogi and the host state, Oyo. At this Conference, David Hall College, Obalende, Ikoyi, and Topfield College, Ajugunle, Apapa, both from Lagos won in the girls’ and boys’ categories respectively.

As it is the tradition of the championships, the four best losing teams were also invited to participate in the grand finale.

In the girls’ category both Government Girls Secondary School, Bukavu, Kano State and Queen Amina College, Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna State emerged best losing teams from the four Conferences, while Victorroti Private Secondary School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State and Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Obom, Bayelsa State emerged in the boys’ category from the four Conferences.

These six teams will jostle for the coveted prices of champions’ trophy, cash prize, basketball kits and lots of other MILO goodies in both the boys’ and girls’ categories of the championships.

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