Netball, a game that is mostly played and enjoyed by more than 20 million girls and women all over the world will soon be coming to a secondary school near you. In order to realise this achievable goal, CSED (Community Sport and Educational Development) Initiative has just completed the building of a outdoor netball court at the IDPs Camp Uhogua (Edo State). This brightly coloured 100 ft/50 ft netball court is the first netball court to be built from the scratch in Nigeria since the post-Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) era (1986).
One of CSED Trustees, Cornelius Ehimiaghe stated that he is filled with joy to know that an NGO that operates from the living rooms of their Trustees with no bank account can take on a big project like this and bring it to a successful completion. “Edema Fuludu (CSED National Coordinator) led a team made up mostly of amateur volunteer builders to deliver this project after working hard for eight days.
However, CSED Initiative is not relenting in their trailblazing efforts to make netball accessible to thousands of Nigerian school girls. As they have concluded plans to go a step further by inviting an INF (International Netball Federation) Instructor, Mary Waya to come and facilitate a five day training seminar for P.E. Teachers in Benin City (Edo State). This is going to be the first time in the history of netball in Nigeria that a INF training seminar is going to hold in the country. CSED will be collaborating with Edo State Ministry of Education, Edo State Sports Commission and Edojobs Agency to train 30 to 35 Game Mistresses, who will be expected to take this game to the nook and crannies of Edo State.
The successful completion of this training seminar in Benin City, will encourage the INF to extend their global development programme to Nigeria before the end of 2020. Nigeria is currently a associate member of the INF, while some countries like Ethiopia and Cote D’ Ivoire who started playing netball less than ten years ago are now full fledged members of the INF.
Cornelius Ehimiaghe stated that CSED is going to put in place plans to make netball one of the legacy of Edo State hosting the National Sports Festival in March 2020, “by our taking netball to 120 secondary and primary schools in the state. As well as holding free safeguarding training for Game Masters/Mistresses, Teachers and Sports Administrators, later in the year.” It would be recall that CSED in 2018 is the first Nigerian NGO to hold safeguarding training for Game Masters/Mistresses in Nigerian schools.
Cornelius Ehimiaghe is of the opinion that “CSED future collaboration with other interested state government, the Ministry of youths and Sports, the Ministry of Women Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, National Olympic Committee (NOC), NGOs and CSOs will lead to Nigeria gradually moving from ground zero to featuring in the 2027 Netball World Cup. As well as achieving CSED long term goal of introducing netball to one million school girls by 2027.”
All Nigeria needs is a “can do” spirit, instead of the current “do nothing” approach, which has led to Nigeria being twenty years behind the least netball playing country in the world. “This is the reason why Sunday Dare (Nigeria’s Sports Minister) must do what his former predecessors have failed to do; by setting up a panel to investigate the reasons why Nigerian netball is currently in coma.” As this is the only way forward to rebooting netball to the prominence it used to enjoy in Nigerian secondary schools, teachers training colleges and colleges of education in the 1970s.
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