By Micheal Eyibio
The Project 2027, netball training is steadily gaining acceptance as the it’s train has acceptably landed the shores of Uyo, the capital of Ebonyi State.
St.Cornelia Connelly College, Uyo, it’s destination recently hosted a two-day training of Physical Education Teachers (PETs) in netball.
The event was powered by Community Sport and Educational Development (CSED) initiative, a frontline Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Secondary Education Board (SSEB).
The SSEB Director of Sports Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, who represented the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Ekaete Ebong Okon declared the netball training event open, expressed her delight to witness the return of netball which she played in her secondary school days.
46 PETs (including two secondary school students) drawn from all the local government areas of the state attended this introduction to netball training that was conducted by three Netball Africa certified coaches; Dr Grace Ataha, Edema Fuludu and Onome Edema.
The Head of Department of Physical and Health Education of the University of Uyo, Prof. Ukeme Eyo, also attending the opening ceremony of this training event. Eyo thanked CSED Initiative for choosing Akwa Ibom state to be one of the first three states in Nigeria to hold the training of teachers in netball. The three Netball Africa coaches took turn in teaching the participants the theory and practical skills of the game of netball.
The first day was basically the theoretical aspect of the game. The participants were taken to the marked grass netball court, where they were taught about the dimension of the netball court and were showed some of the basic netball kits/equipment (finger-held whistles, netball balls, practicing bibs and netball rims/post). This was then followed by netball warm up exercises, ball throwing and catching exercises.
On day 2, most of the training took place in the marked grass netball court. Basic netball drills were introduced after the participants were divided into four teams. This field practice enabled the participants to put into practice what they have learned about the seven positions of netball and the responsibilities of the players based on their position.
This was then followed by a netball practice session. The Netball Africa coaches also talked to the participants about their safeguarding responsibility by ensuring that students who take part in sports activities do so in a safe and abuse-free environment. Dr Grace Ataha also gave a brief talk about the negative impact of drug abuse in the wider society and the sport ecosystem.
In his closing remarks, the SSEB Director of Sports promised to introduce netball in Akwa Ibom youth games and inter-house sports competitions in future. He urged the trainees to retrain others and make sure that the game flourishes in the state. A representative of the participants, Charity Etukudo thanked CSED Initiative for their kind gesture of training and equipping the P.E. teachers for free. She promised to make good use of the knowledge gained at this training event for the good of her students.
At the end of the training session, certificates of attendance and 31 netball starter packs (netball rims/nets, netball balls, finger-held whistles and two separate colours of netball training bibs) were given to the participants. However, given the large turn-out of the P.E. teachers, CSED Initiative will arrange for 12 additional netball starter packs to be distributed within the next two weeks.
The Akwa Ibom netball training event brings to 108, the number of PETs and community youths that have been trained under the two-day “PROJECT 2027,” netball training programme in Nigeria. “PROJECT 2027” aims to promote SDG 5 (gender equality), by bringing the game of netball to the attention of one million Nigerian school girls before the end of December 2027. Netball is currently the only sport that is specifically developed for girls and women.