30 July 2009

NIGERIA : Rivers State to take over Royal Hoopers

New entrant to the MultiChoice Premier Basketball League, the Royal Hoopers Basketball Club of Port-Harcourt is to be acquired by the government of Rivers State with effect from August 1, 2009. Indications to this effect emerged Thursday as the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi hosted the NBA legend, Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald and eight other foreign coaches from America at the Government House in Port-Harcourt.

He said that the state is aware of the good work the initiator of the Royal Hoopers team, Syndoph Endoni has done and Endoni is now set to leave for another duty post, the state will take over the team to keep the dream alive.

“We’re elated that so much has been achieved with Royal Hoopers through the efforts of Syndoph Endoni. The selfless service won’t be allowed to fade away and as such we are renovating the basketball facility to enable we have them play on a befitting venue. We certainly don’t want his absence to kill the laudable programme he has started with the Royal Hoopers.”

He thanked the organisers for taking time off to be in the state to help train the young players and keep them away from vices. Amaechi noted that poverty is a big factor that leads young men into criminal activities.

“With a camp like the one we have here serving as a good schedule, our youths will understand that they can have a future in education through basketball and as such get more focused. On our part, we’ll do our best to keep supporting this programme.”

Earlier, the NBA Hall of Famer, Archibald had told the governor that he was glad to be in Nigeria and had by his visit achieved one of his life long ambition. “I must tell you, you’re Excellency that we’ve had a nice time working with the kids.”

Syndoph who led the delegation had pleaded that the state government should do well to continue with the programme. His views were also emphasised by coach Alex Nwora, founder of the Global Sports Advantage which partners Royal Hoopers on the Elite Camp and Classics as he noted that letting the project die will amount to the youths loosing focus of the gains made already.

At the meeting were the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye and Sam Ahmedu. There were also Jackie Knowles, Tyrone M. Duren, Josh Bland, Ernest Browne, and Cecil Sievers who are all coaches from the USA. Nigeria’s former internationals Osita Nwachukwu and Abdulrahman Mohammed complete the list.

Pius Ayinor
FIBA Africa

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