The Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF) in partnership with Bayelsa government and Nestle PLC will sponsor 22 students to represent Nigeria at the 2022 Serbia World Basketball Championships.

Olabisi Joseph, President of the federation, said this at press conference on Monday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of the country at the championships emerged from Milo Basketball Championships, where St. Jude Girls Secondary School Amarata, won the female category while Bishop Dimieari Grammar School Obom won the male category.

NAN also reports that the 2022 World School Basketball Championships will hold from Sept. 20 to Sept. 28 in Serbia.

Joseph commended the male and female teams for coming tops out of 11,000 schools that participated in the Nestle Basketball Championships.

She urged the team to give their best in Serbia and make Nigeria proud: “I’m elated that for the first time Nigeria will be participating at the World Basketball Championships, and I strongly feel that we will achieve our goal, which is to win in Serbia.

“I want to applaud our sponsors, Nestle and the Bayelsa government, for their support and encouragement for these children; I’m confident that we will come back with trophies.”

The NSSF President lauded the Bayelsa State government for ensuring that the students are exposed to international competitions while urging other states to take a cue from the gesture.

The Commissioner for Education, Bayelsa, Gentle Emeleh, praised the sports-loving governor of the state, Douye Diri, for his interest and support for grassroots sports development.

“This is my alma mata, and I am happy that these children are on the path towards putting our name on the map, we are proud to be part of this; our Gov. Douye Diri is a lover of sports.

“He urged the students to be of good conduct and he applauded their coaches for working hard and helping the students build their confidence,” Emeleh said.

An elated Category Manager, Beverages of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Tayo Olatunji, said the decision by the Bayelsa government to sponsor the students was in line with the ideals of the annual tournament, which was to produce future champions.

Captains of the teams, Idubamo Pius Beggi and Samuel Talents vowed to replicate their feat in Nigeria on the international stage, while promising to be good ambassadors.

Nigeria alongside 19 other nations including Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Nepal, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, China Taipei and Turkey will compete in the boys and girls events.

The championships is organised by the International School Sports Federation (ISF) and hosted by the Serbian School Sport Federation.

Meanwhile, the boys’ team has been drawn in Group A alongside Turkey, Hungary, and Chinese Taipei while the girls’ team is in group D with Turkey, Chile, and Bulgaria. (NAN)