Nigeria, Japan sign MoU to develop baseball, softball

The trio of Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association (NBSA), the Embassy of Japan and Japan-Africa Baseball and Softball (J-ABS) Foundation on Friday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Speaking at the event held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Shinya Tomonari, President of J-ABS, said the objective of the MoU was to develop the game in Nigeria.He added that the five-year partnership with NBSA would focus on what they termed the “Nigeria Baseballership Development Plan”.

“The MoU is aimed at creating a bright future for Africa and Japan by promoting the values of baseball and softball between both countries,” Tomonari said.He said his experience while working as manager of the Ghana national baseball team in 1997 led him to establish the Association for Friends of African Baseball (AFAB) in 2003.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AFAB was renamed J-ABS in 2021“Baseball development is not simply about promoting baseball.

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The true purpose is to help young people learn the values of discipline, respect and justice.“This is the hallmark of traditional baseball in Japan, which is the number one-ranked country in the sport.“Japanese style of baseball is known to promote human development and is one of the reasons why the sport is popular and supported by the Japanese public,” the former said.He added that through the MoU they were also of the hope to promote an exchange between Nigeria and Japan and do their best for the future of the project.

Speaking also, Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, said the baseball sport would help kids learn democratic ideas, respect for rules, and build peace.“I believe that there is great potential for the sport, especially community sport, as it has a unique way of making a positive impact in the society.

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“It allows participation of people of all backgrounds and abilities. It allows the players experience joy, form connections and build communities among themselves,” Matsunaga said.

On her part, Monisola Makunjuola, acting President of NBSA, thanked the two other bodies for supporting and donating equipment for the growth of the game.She noted that it was a new dawn for the Association.

“We are optimistic that this new beginning, as it affects schools and sports, will teach important life lessons to our young lads in the areas of discipline, hard work, commitment and teamwork.“NBSA in the past has been the forerunner of West African and African baseball, but in recent times the association has been struggling with growth.

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“This partnership will help baseball and softball to wax stronger in Nigeria,” Makanjuola said.

The event was witnessed by a representative of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Mohammed Abdullahi, some of NBSA’s sponsors, some schools and a virtual appearance of the Ambassador of Nigeria to Japan, Abubakar Husaini.(NAN)

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