The addition of a new basketball court at Ilupeju Grammar School to the existing Warrior Basketball court in Ilupeju is proof of the dedication of the president of the Toronto Raptors and Giant of Africa basketball, Masai Ujiri, to nurture and develop future champions for Nigeria and the rest of Africa in Basketball.

The unveiling ceremony, which took place on Thursday, October 14, 2021, also witnessed the official unveiling reopening of the newly renovated Warriors Basketball Court headed by Coach Peter Amedu.

Coach Olakunle Ogunlana, one of the coaches from Giant of Africa Basketball Court and the president of the Newsong Basketball Academy, stated that the Giant of Africa is committed to building 100 Basketball Courts across the African continent.

Coach Ogunlana revealed that this campaign is Masai’s way of giving back to society. “We just finished an event two weeks ago, and it’s just trying to give back to the community and Africa as a whole. This is a way to encourage the youths to develop skills and engage in outdoor activities that will benefit them. So we have one at Iyana-Oworonshoki; Ilupeju Grammar School, Oshodi; another one at Ifako and this one at Ilupeju.”

The member of the Warriors Basketball Academy further noted that different sporty items were distributed to youths who participated in the unveiling events. He said, “During the unveiling of these basketball courts, youths were camped for different events, and we gave out items like shoes, bags, jerseys, basketballs so that they would have the right kit to train with as well as engage in playing the game without any hindrance.”

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The coach stated that the court is always open for training for individuals interested in basketball. He also confirmed to our team that there are plans to hold tournaments before the end of the year. “We have some tournaments coming up before the year runs out,” he said.

Thursday Showers Team had interviewed the Director of the Warriors Basketball Programme and the founder of the training court, Coach Peter Amedu, in 2019 on the state of the basketball court and how it has served as a breeding ground for interested youths in basketball. He explained how the court was renovated from what used to be a hideout for touts into a training ground for stars in basketball.

In his words, “this place used to be a place where touts were always staying to smoke and commit atrocities. But now, even some of these boys have been encouraged and picked off the streets. Some have been given the opportunity to continue their education abroad.”

Coach Amedu, who acknowledged that there is still work to do to make the Centre better, confirmed that the support of individuals and organisations, especially The Fountain of Life Church, has helped maintain the court.

“Nestle Milo has helped out by branding the place often and making it conducive for the kids, and a big thank you to the late Pastor Bimbo and her husband Pastor Taiwo Odukoya for being of great help,” he added.

Reported by Becky Olorunpomi