By Olawale Alabi
The African Children Talent Discovery Foundation (ACTDF) has awarded scholarships worth 300,000 U.S dollars (about N123.5 million) each to 14 youngsters who excelled at a recent basketball tournament in Kano.
Noah Dallaji, the foundation’s Chairman/Founder, while presenting five of the young basketballers at a ceremony Monday in Abuja, said they would be leaving for the U.S. any moment from now.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the players include Emmanuel Peters from Bauchi state and Taiwo Abraham from Kebbi.
The others are Samuel Alphonsus from Kaduna state, Ibrahim Dan-Mutum from Kaduna state and Solomon Ominu from Edo.
The ACTDF Chairman disclosed that the young Nigerians won the scholarships based on their performances at the Noah Dallaji Legacy Basketball Tournament, held in Kano from Aug. 8 to Aug. 14.
”Based on our promise to reward players who excelled at the tournament, which was for 17-year-olds and those below that age, these players have been selected for our sponsorship to the U.S.
”They are heading to the U.S for further studies and to learn more about playing basketball,” Dallaji said.
The ACTDF Chairman said the basketballers would be mentored for further development in life as great Nigerians for the benefit of their families and the country at large.
He said the five basketballers were the first batch in the group of 14, with all processes leading to their admission in schools as well as traveling documents being processed.
”These players form the first batch, because the necessary documentation regarding their admission into schools, either at high school, collegiate or university level, are being processed.
”Equally, we are working on all things regarding their traveling documents, such as visa, medicals and flights. In a matter of days, they will be heading to the U.S.
“The rest nine will move to the U.S. in batches too, as soon as we can get all the necessary documentation ready,” Dallaji said.
He disclosed that Ominu, whose admission processes had been concluded, would first be heading to the Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine in the U.S.
”It is an all-male college preparatory, from where he will leave for the Washington State University.”
While responding on behalf of the group, Peters said he and the other four were full of gratitude to Dallaji and the ACTDF for the opportunity to change their lives for the better.
”This is inexplicable, the way things have happened for us. We are just very grateful for this opportunity, because there are many others with potential who are out there on the streets wasting away.
”But Dr Dallaji and ACTDF have chosen to make things become different for us. So, we are really grateful.”
He added that the five of them were, as a matter of a pledge, not going to disappoint.
”We will try with everything in us not to disappoint. We will represent our family and our country very well.”
Daniel Amokachi, ex-Super Eagles forward, former Olympic Eagles goalkeeper Emmanuel Babayaro, and former Congolese striker Lomana LuaLua were all on hand to give words of advice to the basketballers.
NAN reports that the Noah Dallaji Legacy Basketball Tournament is being coordinated by Olumide Oyedeji, a former captain of D’Tigers, the senior men’s national basketball team. (NAN)