By Olanrewaju Akojede
The Tournament Director of West African Little League, Kehinde Laniyan, says the hosting of the tournament by Nigeria is historic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria is hosting the maiden edition of the League in Lagos.
NAN also reports that the participants comprised two African countries and some other local clubs.
The ongoing tournament at the Igbobi College, Lagos, which kicked off on Tuesday, is expected to end on Saturday.
Laniyan told NAN that the tournament would revive the grassroots development of Baseball and Softball in Nigeria.
“This maiden West African Little League being supported by Little League International, is unique even anywhere in the world.
“This is the first time West African Little League International will be supported in Africa and of course, West Africa and by extension, Nigeria.
“Little League is the children arm of the softball and baseball game.
“What we are set to achieve is to develop the sport for the children between the ages of eight and 16.”
Laniyan said that the League would encourage more aspiring sportsmen to the sport that is still growing its base in Nigeria.
“We are improving the game in Nigeria and that is the reason we are saying that the maiden edition is important to us.
“From this tournament, two teams will emerge to represent Africa at the Europe-Africa Little League Championships in Poland in July.
“Also if we are fortunate enough we will have representatives at the World Series of the League in the U.S. in August,” he said.
Laniyan said the hosting of the league saved Nigeria from the challenge of processing travel documents to travel out of the country for competition.
“We will see that the Little League becomes a yearly event in our calendar and for this,” he said.
He appreciated the sponsors, Transcorp group, First Bank and Little League International among others.
“Sports should get more supports from the private sector because they are the ones that can drive it, government only need to provide the infrastructure.
“Baseball and Softball are money spinning sports in other advanced countries and we expect that such will be replicated in Nigeria in no distant time.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant talents that can play the sport professionally in other countries,”he said.
He said there was a need to develop talents through age group programmes and grassroots developments. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Joseph Edeh