*Lottery will help us achieve funds we need – Onyali
By Oluwole Francis
Britarch Schools in Lugbe-Abuja will enter into the record books of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc. (NSDFI)’s flagship project when her students will begin the training programmes towards the greatness of Nigeria in international sports.
Receiving the baseball coach that will be working with them in the college on Tuesday, the Director of Britarch Schools, Mrs Chichi Philips Orioha said, “we had been waiting patiently and we are happy to receive you. We look fervently to you turning our children to global celebrities in a matter of weeks to come.”
“We hope your coming will herald greater mutual relationship with not just baseball, but Chess, Tennis, Table tennis and athletics. These are sports that had made our nation much respected in the international arena. That our children will enjoy the luxury of being trained in these sports is a thing of joy to us here.”
Former national team baseball player, Aaron Simpa, in his comments said, “I look forward to producing the next generation of great baseball and softball players from this wonderful school, Britarch. The environment is ripe and great. The warm reception of the college administrators is fantastic.”
Coach Aaron Simpa, who also got into the sport as a Little Leaguer in the late 80s took on former five-time Olympian and African record holder in the 200metres, Chief Mary Onyali and the Director of the school, Mrs Chichi Philips-Orioha on basic drills of playing the game. It was so much fun making them to be the batters of their team and working hard to hit the ball to save all loaded bases to take them home.
After the drills, Mrs Chichi Philips-Orioha said, “I look forward to joining the children in learning this new sport. It sounds challenging, interesting and will be worth knowing. Our children will also appreciate what the Basic Olive Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST) is bringing on board to them. We can’t appreciate you enough coming to our school.”
Executive Director (Technical), Chief Mary Onyali said, “we are doing 36 centres like this nationwide including the six Duke Odizor International Tennis (Do It) Foundation’s centres. There will also be six Athletics Development Centres, one each in the nation’s geo-political centres.”
“We are aggressively thinking of how to get one million children into sports in the next three years in different sports. We seek the face of the public to appreciate us, sign up or and donate to the fund.”
She revealed, “if things work out well, we may begin a lottery programme early next month (July). We want Nigerians to participate, contribute and enjoy the fun of not only contributing to the funds that will support the 90 athletes in the five sports we want to fund for Tokyo 2020.”
For children like Britarch’s it is the guaranteed career future we are offering them that is the biggest motivation that is driving us. These children must be better, bigger and bolder than all of us behind the project. The sky should not be their limits. They can actually be the very best if they understand these opportunities. They must hang the Olympic Olive in their heads and make our nation real proud.”