Senate President David Mark
The 12th edition of Mark D’ Ball Basketball Tournament which served off on Boxing Day at the Otukpo Sports Arena, gained prominence Thursday as over 300 enthusiastic kids, turned up at the clinic to learn the basics of basketball.
Senate President David Mark and Minister of Interior Comrade Abba Moro and the Ochi Idoma HRM Chief Elias Ekoyi Obekpa, were some of the dignitaries that graced the opening ceremony at the Otukpo Club.
Several foreign and local instructors as well members of the national basketball team, The Tigers were at hand to share their knowledge with the kids.
The coach of Cape Verde national team, which has already qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Alex Nwora is among the facilitators.
Nwora, who is an American citizen, is also the head coach of the Erie Community College, Buffalo, New York.
Other facilitators include, Chantel Turner, the Assistant coach at Virgin Tech, Joseph Tombo, a Cameroonian based in the US, as well as a member of the national team to London 2012, Ejike Ugboaja and former captain of the national team, Tunji Awojobi.
The Mark D Ball tournament, which ends on December 31, has suddenly turned the sleepy town of Otukpo into a melting pot for guests, revelers and some of the nation’s best hip hop stars, including Tuface Idibia and Sound Sultan.
The President of the Nigerian Basket Ball Federation (NBBF) Tijani Umar, thanked the Senator Mark for providing a pedestal for the young ones to nurture their career.
Umar also said that the tournament will serve as a legacy that will outlive every participant.
Some of the male teams featuring at the event include, ASPAC of Cotonou, Apa Flames, Repete Shooters of Lafia, Hard Rockets of Abuja, Braves of Markudi and SUBA Sharpshooters of Suleija.
The female teams are Dolphin of Lagos, Delta Force of Asaba and Beloved Sweetees of Lagos.
The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of a new basketball team, Mark Mentors Basketball Club, by the wife of the Senate President, Mrs Helen Mark.