By Salifu Usman, Abuja
Eighth edition of Abuja City Basketball League (ACBL) season kicks off today after the official unveiling of the trophies in a colourful atmosphere in Abuja, yesterday.
A total of 16 male and six female basketball teams will participate in this year’s edition which will be held at the outdoor basketball courts in package B of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Old Parade Ground in Area 10, Garki, Youth centre in Karu and Wuse Zone 2 respectively.
Speaking at the unveiling of the trophies at the International Conference Center (ICC) on Friday, chairman of the FCT Basketball Association, Frank Jituboh, commended the organisers for being trailblazing for the development of basketball in FCT.
“The organizers have done well and they keep improving every year. This is the first time they are unveiling the trophies, and also this is the first time we are seeing female teams ready to participate in the league. So, they are really trailblazing for basketball development in FCT. I have hope next year’s edition will be bigger than this,” he said.
Earlier, the co-founder of ACBL and league commissioner, Fanen Iornem, said the league has recorded tremendous successes since inception, including helping players to get scholarships into higher institutions of learning and full time employment in paramilitary organisations in the country.
“We have recorded tremendous achievements since we started the league seven years ago. In the first year, FCT were the champion of the league and they went on to gain promotion to the premier league; Civil Defence won the second edition and from the league they also went on to qualified for the premier league; same with All Stars and even Nile University.
“Through the league also, a lot of kids have gotten scholarships outside Nigeria while some got full scholarships into school like Nile University. Also we were able to train referees and table officials through the Abuja City Basketball League.
“ACBL has also provided opportunities for athletes to secure employment in various MDAs. For instance, all the players of the Correctional Facilities whose efficacious performance led to winning the league in 2018 thrilled the then Comptroller General and they were rewarded with employment in the para-military outfit, while many traveled abroad plying their trade with maximum value,” Iornem said.
The theme of this year’s league season is ‘Balling 4 Peace’.