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With message of peace on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, netball players storm Yenogoa

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As part of the global events marking the international Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) netball players in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State in South South Nigeria held a three team netball open challenge event at the premises of Samason Siasia Stadium.

The event involved students from two secondary schools -Redeemers International School and Tare Pet Montessori School – as well as the Sports Council All Stars Netball Team.

The guess of honour at the event was the Bayelsa State Director of Sports, Sir Braveman Wodi.

The  three netball teams were kitted by Lord’s Taverners a UK based sports kits recycling NGO.

The ambiance at the venue was balanced with peace, sport and secular themed music. Since “PROJECT 2027” netball training event started in Nigeria in July 2022, this is the first time students with netball trained teachers/coaches are having an inter-school event. Netball was re-introduced to Bayelsa State by CSED (Community Sport and Educational Development) Initiative in January 2023.

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Since the January 2023 “PROJECT 2023” training event, the students and P.E. teachers in Bayelsa State have been yawning for an opportunity like this event to display their skills. At the end of the matches, Tare Pet Montessori School emerged the winner of the event which was coordinated by Catherine Sasuode and powered by CSED Initiative.

During a post-event discussion with Catherine Sasuode, a Trustee of CSED Initiative stated that they will do all they can to use netball to empower the girl child in Bayelsa State.

This they hope to do by providing the teachers/netball coaches with access to safeguarding training, as well as access to other free online sports for change courses that will broaden their knowledge and help them to nurture well rounded students and athletes.

CSED Initiative hope to hold a netball competition for students in Bayelsa State at the end of the current school year in July.

As well as hold a one week netball summer school camp for selected students in Bayelsa State during the summer holiday in August 2023.

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CSED hope to build on their cordial relationship with the good people of Bayelsa state, by exploring the possibility of bringing badminton (“Shuttle Time”) training to Bayelsa State before the end of the third term of the ongoing school year.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Finidi Georges’ foreign assistants have Nigerian roots!

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The Nigeria Football Federation president, Ibrahim Gusau has revealed the five tacticians who will assist the new Nigeria manager, Finidi George. Sports Village Square’s investigation reveals that four of the five coaches either have roots or links in Nigeria.

The only exception is Mehmet Ozturk who is from Turkey. He will be the team’s match reader and analyst. The 59 year old have had stints with various European teams.

  Daniel Amokachi is well known as a former Super Eagles player. He is joined by  Benjamin James, Chima Onyeike and goalkeeper trainer, Olatunji Baruwa.

Benjamin James had previously featured for Shooting Stars of Ibadan and Super Stores of Lagos. He is from Bayelsa  State.

He later moved to Italy and Germany. For years, he was with Bundesliga club Hoffenheim. He will be the fitness trainer as he has a diploma in fitness from the sports university and has worked with various top European clubs like VfB Stuttgart, PAOK and Willem II.

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Chima Onyeike is a Dutch coach of Nigerian origin.

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Netball global ambassador declares interest in promotion in Nigeria

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Current World Netball Ambassador, Mary Waya has restated her commitment to promote the development of netball in Nigeria at the grassroots, schools and community levels, with the ultimate goal of leading to the emergence of netball clubs in future.

She made this known recently during a telephone discussion with a Trustee of CSED Initiative, the sport for change NGO that is currently blazing the trail for the development of netball at the grassroots and school levels in Nigeria.

Waya is the ex-Tanzania, Namibia, and Malawi national netball coach. She is also a former coach of Mavericks Netball Team of England that plays in the Netball Super League.

It would be recalled that in March 2020,  Waya facilitated the training and Netball Africa certification of 24 Nigerians, as netball coaches.

At the time Mary Waya visited Nigeria in March 2020, Nigeria had just recorded her first few cases of Covid-19.

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She defied Covid-19 in order to lay the foundation for the revival of netball in Nigeria.

At that point in time, netball in Nigeria was not only in a state of coma, it was like a patient in an isolation ward that has been abandoned to die an untimely death.

After the post- Covid-19 restriction was lifted in Nigeria, and normalcy gradually returned to the sport and education sectors, CSED Initiative started its “Project 2027” grassroots netball development programme in July 2022.

The major goals of “Project 2027” are to bring the game of netball to the awareness of one million Nigerian school children, train and equip one thousand two hundred P.E. Teachers in netball, and through the process promote the right to play netball of the Nigerian school girls.

Till date, CSED Initiative through their “Project 2027” programme has trained and equipped more than 350 P.E. Teachers, athletes, and community youths to become netball coaches.

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The trained netball coaches have subsequently introduced netball to school students in seven states in Nigeria.

The next state on the “Project 2027” netball tour is going to be Cross River State.

Waya stated that her goal is to see that the foundation she laid in March 2020 is built upon by credible Nigerians who have the game of netball at heart.

She stated that she is willing to visit Nigeria soon in her capacity as a Netball Africa trainer to support the developmental work of CSED Initiative and any other NGO or government agency with passion and technical knowledge and use netball to develop the potentials of the girl child in Nigeria.

Waya mentioned that her future focus in respect of supporting the development of netball in Nigeria is to nurture and develop more Netball Africa certified coaches.

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As well as develop the netball umpires and administrators who will take Nigerian netball to the next level.

She stated that she is particularly pleased to know that CSED Initiative has started discussion with the Department of Human Kinetics and Sports Science of UNIBEN and University of Uyo with a view of collaborating with them in respect of introducing a certificate programme in netball, as well as piloting an online sport for change course that would be specifically targeted at female teachers and female athletes. T

The two university departments would also be supported to carry out research on how sport for change practitioners could use netball and other sports to support, safeguard, and empower vulnerable persons (IDPs, wards of the state, and refugees) in Nigeria.  

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Tare Pet rules IDSDP netball tourney in Bayelsa State

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Tare Pet Montessori Group of Schools have retained their number one spot in secondary school netball in Bayelsa State.

The school team tagged Tarepet Angles defeated Dynamite Divas 11-5, in a keenly contested final match that rounded up the events of the  International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) third Bayelsa Netball Challenge” that was held at the Samson Siasia Sports Stadium, Yenagoa.

Ten secondary schools and two netball clubs (Dynamite Divas and Platinum Angels) participated in the two-day energy sapping event that involved a total of 22 matches.    The 12 participating team were divided into four groups, from where successful team moved to the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final match.

The matches were played at the indoor court and a newly marked outdoor netball court of the Samson Siasia Sports Stadium.

The third place match was contested by Platinum Angels Club and New Total Child School, which was won by the latter.

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Unlike last year’s competition, the number of participating teams was severely affected by the fact that this year’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) which is celebrated on 6 April, happened in the middle of the second term school holiday.

Furthermore, the final match that was supposed to happen on 6 April 2024, had to be held a day earlier, due to the fact that Local Government elections in Bayelsa State of Nigeria were held on 6th April, 2024, and there was a restriction of the movement of members of the public on election day.

The setback notwithstanding, the netballers enjoyed themselves, especially when their parents were cheering them on from the terraces.

The tournament was preceded by a technical meeting that was convened by the Bayelsa State Netball Association for all the 40 netball registered schools/teams in the state, the officiating umpires and the organizers of the Bayelsa Netball Challenge.

Issues that were discussed at the technical meeting include safeguarding, how to use netball in actualizing SDG Number 5 (gender equality and empowering all girls and women), as well as the importance of umpires in ensuring hitch-free netball matches.

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The technical meeting also involved other activities including practical netball case scenarios, the marking of the netball courts and an interactive session on the topic: “what can be done to further develop the game of netball in Bayelsa State”

Dignitaries that graced the opening ceremony includes some of the parents of the netballers, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mrs Grace Alagoa, Sir Braveman Wodi (the Director of Sports, Bayelsa State Sports Council), the Personal Assistant to the Director of Sports, BYSSC, Mr Nana Michael, Mrs. Hannah (Deputy Director Sports Academy Asoama), the patroness of Dynamite Divas Club and Platinum Angels Club, Mrs. Egona Godwin, as well as other Head of Departments of BYSSC, attended the tournament.

The tournament was powered by CSED Initiative and UK based sport charity, Lord’s Taverners. Bayelsa State is currently the number 1, netball playing state in Nigeria, and the goal of the Bayelsa State Sports Council and the Bayelsa State Ministry of Education, is to gradually grow well balanced and healthy students who will grow to love the game, as a life time sport, and not just for the purpose of harvesting medals at future National Sports Festivals.

 It would be recalled that less than a month ago, the “Sporting Coders” pilot programme was successful completed at Tare Pet School.

This pilot programme which involved 21 netballers of Tare Pet School is the first of its kind in Nigeria, that used access to sport (i.e. netball) to try to address the underrepresentation of girls/women in STEM careers.

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