Monday, 16 March 2009

Bounce9ja... Slamming dream in the streets

What is Bounce 9ja all about?
Bounce 9jà is a programme targeted at refocusing global attention on the game of basketball in? Nigeria, through its various youth and developmental projects, which started in Nigeria since May, 2008.
It is geared towards discovering raw, unbridled and talented basketball players in the country with a view to moulding, supervising their developmental and growth stages as well as helping them to achieve their dreams.
The project is committed to revolutionizing basketball in Nigeria to expose players to development and changes in the basketball world through the provision of training sessions and workshop as well as interactions with professional players, coaches and scouts.
Talking about the forthcoming Street Basketball tournament, what shape will it take?
Well, this is the maiden edition. It is a 3-on-3 street basketball tournament, tagged: “Kings of the Concrete.” The tournament comprises teams, made up of four players — 3 main players and 1 alternate, playing half-court knockout games to determine the overall winner of the two-day tournament.
The first team to score 16 points or the team with the highest scores at the expiration of a set period proceeds to the next stage.
All of the teams are fighting to get a slot. It is going to be a-two-day competition. The preliminary matches will be played on the first day. And on the second day, we gather for the quarter — final, semi-final and finals.
I am looking at limited number of the teams to be 19. The time duration set for each match will be 15 minutes, and if at the end of 15 minutes, the game was not yet over, whatever team that is leading with the greater number of points will move on to the next level.
It will not look like the normal game, where one goes to 21 or the way it is counted, but 15 point for the both. So, the first team to get 16 points or with the highest point at end of the allotted time for the preliminary stage, will move on to the next level.
In this exercise, there will be prizes to be won, which I don’t want to reveal for now. In the past, we have given out cash, but what I want to do now, is that even if cash will be given I want to get people, who can donate basketball outfits so, that they can as well spend this cash on the kits.
With this, we can actually get them stockings, gloves, boots among others. These are the things that can contribute to their career. That is actually what we want to do right now.
Apart from these, the winning team will get King of the Concrete championship Jersey. In fact, if we have sponsors, the end point of this programme will be to take final winners abroad to compete for the King’s of compete championship with their foreign counterparts.
This is a worldwide sport that is played in America and some other parts of the world. So, we need to take this home. The whole of this idea is to take it home.
The interested teams will have to register and give us the name of the players. It’s actually going to be the first come first — serve system, but there will be certain criteria for the registration. The forms will soon be uploaded to our website.
Who are your target audience and what is the cost of the registration?
Basically, this will be for the children trying to discover the hidden talent in them. We are targeting young people between the ages 12 and 25 years all over the country. As long as I am concerned, that is the prime age, where you can groom, train, focus and direct the youth. So, that is what this programme is all about.
Meanwhile, the registration for four people, which make up a team will be N1000; and that does not mean it will take care of hiring of Jersey, ball and other items needed for the competition, but at least, that forms the required guaranty for playing level.
Do you have enough accommodation to cater for the teams that might be coming from outside Lagos?
Well, we are in the process of getting this done. I can’t say for now whether we have enough accommodation for them or not. It still depends largely on the sponsorship.
Moreover, I have organised two other tournaments before now, and I do not foresee much people coming from outside Lagos. As I said earlier, this is the maiden edition. Some people would want to sit back and see this come through before they can join the subsequent ones. So, most people outside Lagos will be sceptical.
I planned that, when we have finished this edition in Lagos, we take another one to Abuja. I have travelled to Kano, Abuja and other places and I can see there are people over there to reach out to. Right now, I have somebody working in Zamfara State. We are planning seriously on how to get this done properly.
So, accommodation for now, I can’t say, but with sponsorship, we can forecast what happens. I will be glad to accommodate everybody in this project, because I want to make an impact on the youth.
What inspired you to go into this aspect of sports?
Bounce 9ja emerged due to my passion for the game. This is something that I initiated myself. It started as a pet project. Way back in the school, there were two places where you could find me; one of them was at the basketball pitch.
Upon my graduation, I started playing basketball for leisure in Lagos State, but due to the situation of the game in Nigeria, I didn’t want to go into professional basketball.
The very first programme - Jump Zone, which I organised, was successful, so, I concluded there are some organisations ready to support this project. It is really my personal initiative.
Apart from this, do you have other programmes, ahead for the youth?
None for now; but the in the recent time, Bounce 9ja, supported by First Deepwater Discovery Limited, organised the maiden edition of its six-a-side basketball competition — Jump zone — last year at the indoor and outdoor basketball courts of the University of Lagos.
That was a one-day event that opened to both male and female basketball players. ? Several musical and dance acts performed at the event. The winning team went home with the star price of N150, 000, while consolation prices were given to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place winners.
Recently, we were able to come up with a team even at a short notice for the concluded Ilupeju Warriors Tournament, held in Lagos. Even with the team at that short notice, we came second — a team that practically didn’t train together!
Also, in 2008, we partnered with the same company to organise a 3-day basketball tournament — 2008 Battle for Supremacy — at the same venue. The tournament had four males and four females premier league basketball teams vying for the 2008 First Deepwater Supremacy title and the winner took all cash prizes in each category.
The First Bank Basketball team earned the 2008 Supremacy rights in the female category, while the Niger Potters Basketball Team earned that of the male category. The two teams went away with the star prizes of N500, 000 each.
What has been the people’s response to this project?
I have not made this public as such, because I’m trying to make Bounce9ja have a functional framework, from which it operates, but hopefully by March, this would have been in place.
What would you tell the public about this game?
Basketball is like the second most popular sports in Nigeria. I would like to appeal to all people and bodies interested in the game of basketball and all those, who have the means, and well to do, to partner with us to empower these children.
We have so much talent in this country to explore. I am trying to do my own bit, but I can’t do it alone. I will like anyone, who wants to help to come and identify with us.
Any other person(s) interested to create his own niche and make a difference in someone’s life to reach us; via e-mail:, or website:, or call Adenike on 07033471975

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