Baseball was started in 1846 and is the national sport of the United States. Currently, baseball is one of the fast growing sports that offers attractive MLB Odds for wagers.
The sport has grown over the years and spread across the world. We will look at the history of baseball in Nigeria, contributing factors to the growth of baseball in Nigeria and some of the major competitions.
We will also look at teams, sponsors of the game, and challenges affecting the sport.
ENTRY AND HISTORY OF BASEBALL IN NIGERIA
Baseball was started in Nigeria by the American Peace Corps in 1960. However, this introduction was short-lived due to a civil war in 1966. The American Peace Corps was forced to leave the country.
The Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association (NBSA) was formed in 1989, and reintroduced baseball in the country. The federation has organized competitions for under 12, under 15, and seniors above 16 years old.
CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO THE GROWTH OF BASEBALL IN NIGERIA
Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa, with more than 200 million people. The population is always a contributing factor that makes many things get introduced in Nigeria first before spreading to other parts of the continent.
Good relationships and individual efforts from the locals and international interested parties also promote the game’s growth. Gerald Hall, a former administrator and a coach in the US, works together with locals like Kehinde Leniyan, a native. They work together to create awareness and donate baseball equipment around the country.
The NBSA has been partnering with local and international organizations like International Baseball Federation and World Little League to promote the game’s growth in the country.
Coaching programs held around the country have helped in the sport’s growth. Such programs include:
- Basic Course 1 baseball coaching, in Ilorin, December 1990,
- Baseball Coaching Clinic facilitated by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), February 1992,
- Basic Course II in Baseball Coaching held in Ilorin, April 1992, and
- Integrated Course in Ilorin, December 1992, among others.
MAJOR BASEBALL COMPETITIONS AND TEAMS IN NIGERIA
The National Sports Festival is one of the biggest events in Nigeria. This competition involves all sports in the country, including baseball. This competition is held every two years.
The mother baseball team is the Nigerian National Baseball Team. Other teams are just subsidiaries in the form of clubs from different states around the country.
The Nigerian National Baseball Team won the silver medal in 1999 and 2003 in the All Africa Games after losing to South Africa in the finals.
The Nigerian Baseball Team also won friendlies against Russia (1993) and Ghana in 1998 and 1999.
The following are some of the teams and the states which they come from:
Nyannyan Hitters of Abuja, Abuja State
Divine Warriors, Oyo State
Liberty Sunshine of Akure, Ondo State
Shalom BSC, Lagos State
Akintola Pitchers, Kwara State
Kwara Doublet Little League, Kwara State
Lubcon BSC, Kwara State
Angels Youth Baseball Factory, Kwara State
Plate Burners of Ibadan, Oyo State
SPONSORS OF BASEBALL IN NIGERIA
Sponsors help in a big way to promote the game. Some of the sponsors include:
Marubeni Baseball Club of Japan, which donated baseball equipment to Nigeria. Mr. Funayama Shinichiro, the project coordinator with Marubeni Engineering Company of Nigeria, said he noticed a total lack of equipment in a team’s training in Nyanyan, Abuja.
DC Knights Youths Sports in Washington DC adopted six baseball teams in Nigeria and offered full sponsorship.
The International Baseball Federation and World Little League are also sponsors of baseball in Nigeria. BetUS also offers the best odds for baseball teams allowing wagers to bet on their favorite teams.
CHALLENGES AFFECTING BASEBALL IN NIGERIA
- Baseball is a relatively small sport in Nigeria and faces many challenges. Here are some of the challenges:
- Lack of or insufficient baseball equipment like bats, balls, and gloves make training difficult.
- Lack of experienced coaches for the NBSA to conduct coaching clinics for local coaches.
- Few or no friendlies with more experience teams outside Nigeria
- Lack of amateur leagues
- Few scholarships for Nigerian baseball players
These challenges can be addressed by both local and international parties, individuals, and organizations.
Baseball is still a small sport in Nigeria but growing fairly well since its introduction. A few noble people have taken the initiative to develop the sport in the country.
There are so many challenges affecting the growth of baseball in Nigeria. However, they are usual issues that the government, individuals, and well-established organizations can address.
You will always find the baseball news on BetUS regarding the sports developments worldwide.