The 2020 District 01 girls softball tournament has commenced at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan, with no fewer than 11 schools.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the teams are from Ibadan, Abuja and Lagos.
NAN also reports that softball is a modified form of baseball played on a smaller field, with a larger, softer ball, seven rather than nine innings and underarm pitching.
The game evolved in the US during the late 19th century from a form of indoor baseball.
Kehinde Laniyan, the District Administrator, Little League said that the tournament commenced with a coaching clinic for both athletes and coaches.
He stressed the need for the skills of both athletes and coaches to be updated with current techniques in the game.
“The objective is to make these children have fun, acquire skills and also make them competitive, not only in Nigeria but globally.
“We believe that the standard we have can’t go for international tournaments, hence the arrangement for two foreign experts here today to train the athletes and coaches.
“It’s very important that they learn the rules, regulations and cultures of softball. If they lack these skills, it can lead to their disqualification at international tournaments,’’ he said.
He added that softball was now being played in some private and public schools in Oyo State.
“Softball used to exist only in private schools before in Oyo state but now, public schools are involved in the sport. For five years, it was just private schools.
“The support from the ministries of education and sports has made this possible. As we speak, we now have five public schools in the state playing softball,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the tournament is divided into two sections: the Little League Division U-12 and Senior Softball U-16.
As at the time of this report, Sabon Wuse, Abuja were leading in the U-16 and behind them was Badagry Angels, while Bishop Philips Academy, Ibadan were leading in the U-12.
Laniyan, who is also the Secretary-General, Nigeria Baseball Softball Association, said that outstanding players at the tournament would be rewarded with trophies, medals and awards.
He added that because of their ages, monetary rewards would not be given to them.
“They are amateurs and we won’t be encouraging them to play for money,’’ he said.
NAN reports that two female coaches from Netherlands are training the athletes and coaches. They are Edith Riemsijk and Maŕielle Vleugels.
The tournament, which ends on Wednesday, is being sponsored by the US Consulate-General in Lagos.