By Babatude Ogunrinde
Gen. Hassan Usman Katsina Unity College, Bauchi, on Wednesday emerged winners of the Sahara Conference Nestle Milo Basketball Secondary School Championships after defeating Gen. Murtala Mohammed College, Yola, 38-35 in Bauchi.
The victory also earned the college a national finals ticket in the male category of the championship scheduled for Lagos.
Similarly, Government Secondary School, Numan, defeated Government Girls College, Doma, Gombe, 28-18 to clinch the first place trophy in the girls’ category and also a qualification to the national finals.
The Sahara conference finals which dunked off on May 3 and ended on May 8, held at the Multipurpose Hall of the Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi.
The final male match played was keenly contested and saw both teams working hard to outplay one another but eventually the Bauchi team’s stability and determination gave them the day.
The Bauchi team also would have the home support to thank for their victory going by how they supported them with victory songs; they also applauded the players while they played.
Ahmadu Abba, the Head Coach of the Bauchi team, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was proud of the team’s achievement and that his team was the better side.
“We worked hard throughout the game and never stopped doubting our ability to win the match.
“We will continue to build on this and hopefully be better prepared for the national conference finals coming up in Lagos,’’ Abba said.
Adamu Mohammed, the State Coordinator, expressed happiness over the successful hosting of the competition, thanking Nestle Nigeria for backing Bauchi to host the conference finals.
“I am happy and forever grateful towards the role Nestle Nigeria Plc in continuing to support the developments of our youths through basketball.
“It feels good to win the boys category, indeed it is an enterprising performance, we thank God for the trust Nestle Milo has on us to host a successful championships.
“Our team will go back to the training board and be better prepared as we also we get set to back them to do well in the national finals,” he said.
In the third place match for boys, Ahamadiyya College Kano beat Government Science and Technical College, Bukuru, 35-20, while Government Secondary School, Zing, Taraba beat Government Girls College Bauchi, 11-6 to claim the third place prizea.
The winners in the conference for boys and girls proceed to the national finals and were awarded N100,000 cash for the developments of sports in their schools.
They also received branded basketball, certificates and their championship trophy for their efforts.
In the boys’ category, Ibrahim Bello from Bauchi won the Most Valuable Player Award, while Linda John from Adamawa won the Most Valuable Player from the girls’ category.
No fewer than 44 matches were played in all with 20 schools from 10 states participating in the competition which includes Teams from Bornu with Government College, Maiduguri and Government Girls Secondary School.
Bauchi the host city which had the eventual boys’ champions, Gen. Hassan Usman Katsina Unity College, Bauchi and Government Girls College, Bauchi.
Gombe had Pen Resource Academy, Gombe and Government Girls College, Doma, while Jigawa had representatives from Government Unity School Secondary School, Ringin and Government Girls Unity Secondary School, Malam Madori.
Kano had representatives from Ahamadiyya College, Kano and Governemnt Girls Secondary School, Jogana, Kano.
Katsina had Family Support Secondary School, Katsina and Governemnt Girls Senior Secondary School, Jibia.
Taraba had representatives from Governement Science Secondary School, Jalingo and Government Secondary School, Zing.
Yobe came with Government Day Secondary School, Damaturu and Government Girls Unity College Damaturu, while Plateau had Government Science and Technology College, Bukuru and St Luis College, Jos.