The indoor Sports Hall of Jolly Nyame Stadium, Jalingo, was a beehive of activity, at the weekend when the ‘PROJECT 2027’ netball train landed in Taraba State.
The event, which was jointly organised by Taraba Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Taraba State Ministry of Education, was powered by CSED (Community Sport and Educational Development) Initiative, a leading sport for change non-governmental organization (NGO) in Nigeria.
‘PROJECT 2027’ is a grassroots netball development programme that aims to promote the right of Nigerian girls to play the game, which could have died ‘unnaturally in Nigeria,’ “if not for the efforts of CSED Initiative and the Naija Netball Stakeholders, who have resisted the nonchallant attitude of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports in developing netball in Nigeria,” Netball Africa certified instructors, Dr. Grace Ataha and Godwin Edema Fuludu said in a joint statement.
They said ‘PROJECT 2027’ aims to bring netball to the attention of one million Nigerian school girls before the end of 2027 by training 1,200 Physical Education (PE) teachers in schools across Nigeria.
The two-day basic netball training for P.E. Teachers in Taraba State led to the certification of 34 new netball coaches by Ataha and Fuludu.
The two instructors utilised a training pack developed by current World Netball Ambassador, Mary Waya, who is a former coach of Tanzania and Malawi’s national netball teams.
As part of the netball training curriculum, the new coaches were trained in the theory and practical aspects of netball, which is the only sport in the world that is specifically designed for girls and women.
Those who attended the free training course were intrigued by the unique rules of the game, which require players to stay in specific parts of the netball court divided into three parts.
Speaking to the participants at the opening ceremony of the event, the Director of Sports, George Shitta, urged the participants to listen to the instructors, who have held similar basic netball training events in five other states, including Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Enugu and Bayelsa.
Given the important role sports play in unifying Nigerians, Shitta urged private organisations and individuals to complement government efforts by investing more in grassroots sports development with a view of engaging the youths in pro-social activities that would benefit them and the society in future.