The tournament will feature teams from all over the country plus some west African states in addition to world class basketball stars, teams, coaches plus super side attractions that will include music, comedy, children clinic, and visit to orphanage homes.
Some of the stars expected to attend the event include the legend 2face Idibia, M.I, KCEE(Limpopo), Flavour Nabania, Sound Sultan, Vector, Ikechukwu Skillz, Mr.Ibu, Victor Osuagu and many more.
Mark-D-Ball is an initiative of Hon. Igoche Mark and the aim, according to him "is to help young people to become better citizens using the basketball medium". Again he said "Nigeria could revive its image by encouraging the development of sports at the grass-roots with the youth being the target."
In 2012, more than 250 children within the ages of eight to sixteen years were trained and from among them, some were selected after the training and given scholarship to go to school and also build up their career in sports. The 2012 edition also gave birth to Markmentors Basketball club that was ranked among the best three basket ball teams in the country in its first season in the DSTV Basketball League.
This year the intent is to train more than 300 students in the basketball academy and those that excel would be given scholarships to further their education. The theme therefore is: Catch Them Young; and while we teach them how to develop their skills, we also encourage them to go to school; to use sports as not only a past time but a tool for physical and mental development. The idea is we believe that if you train up a child early enough in his skill, he/she will grow up to become the Akeem Olajuwon of tomorrow and today's celebrated sportsmen. Besides, the philosophy is fundamentally to build a sound mind in a sound body through sports.
Mark D Ball team will go up against a celebrity team of basket-ball players, in a friendly game at the opening ceremony of the tournament drawn from Music, Nollywood and News Media.
Senate President David Mark, threw his weight behind this annual event competition and made it a world class event that now employs youths from across Benue, Nigeria and around the world. It offers hope for the community and exposes the communities to business opportunities and peaceful co-existence among the variegated people of Nigeria. Also, as a nationalist, Senator David Mark believes in the corporate existence of Nigeria and is an inherent believer of engendering a society that is governed by a sense of duty, responsibility, love , and an effort to highlight and locate Nigeria among great nations of the world.
The idea of this initiative is the Senate President’s commitment of getting the youths off the streets; through a platform they can easily relate to – sports. During the tournament, participants are challenged to meet one another while people network in the light of instigating social commitment and increasing opportunities to unite the diverse people of Nigeria.
There is a three part “code of living” that participants are encouraged to live by while participating in the tournament: as individuals, as team members, and as members of society. The basic theme that underpin the code is: to try and develop ones skills to the best of ones ability, and also to be aware that as a team player, one must consider himself and fellow team members and put the team’s goals ahead of individual's. One must also be aware that participating in the tournament means one must be ready to impact on his or her community positively.
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Sign: Comrade James Oche Media Cordinator
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