Former athletes of International School, University of Lagos (ISL), have officially commissioned two newly renovated basketball courts at the university’s Sports Centre.
The students, who came together to contribute their quota towards the development of sport in the school by encouraging the students, also took time out to celebrate the school’s coach, Ernest Ijeoma, who was the coach during their years in ISL.
Speaking at the unveiling, Project Coordinator, Olakale Lipede, stated that the project was part of the former students way of empowering and deepening youth sports, adding that ISL had always been a force to reckon with in basketball.
“We just want to really maintain that edge and encourage other current and future students that come through this system. I remember my time at ISL; walking through the court, playing on it was one of the reasons I was willing to come to school everyday. Aside from education the school has to offer, there is an escape route through which one can build one’s self esteem, which is sports,” he said.
According to Lipede, “In 2020, nine former students commenced the renovation of the first court by raising N1.7 million. And then in 2022, 68 former students raised N9.1 million and commenced the renovation of the second court to bring it to international standards.”
Representative of the University of Lagos Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade T. Ogunsola, Mr. Sola Kuti, commended the former students for also celebrating their coach, who taught them the game of basketball, apart from the courts’ renovation.
“There are coaches and there are coaches. There are coaches like Coach Ijeoma, who not only has challenged all his students across the many generations, but has also inspired such love for the sport and for the school. That they still came back after many years across many oceans from Canada, Australia, America, United Kingdom, just to give back to ISL, speaks volumes.
“The donors have demonstrated a few things: They have demonstrated the spirit of giving back to their alma mater; their commitment to excellence by the quality of what I see in front of me. They could have used their money for something else.
“Some of them are still trying to establish themselves in their various professions, but they have decided to give back because they love this school and Coach Ijeoma,” he said.
A proud Coach Ijeoma thanked his former students for the honour bestowed on him and the school.
He said: “I just want to say thank you to them and that we are grateful. I was surprised when the project started. All of them just kept turning up from Canada, America, the UK etc. I am so happy and I thank God. Though I started it and today you can see for yourself. The man behind it is Olakale Lipede. He was an athletic member of the school and also a basketball player.”