Baseball is not new to Nigeria, but a local training academy wants to take the sport all the way to home base.
The Baseball Tomorrow Academy (BTA) together with the US embassy in the capital Abuja held clinics run by former major league baseball stars.
Up to 60 children between the ages of 12 and 15 from five different states took part in the training.
I think they have exceeded expectations. They have a good foundation, good coaching and a good understanding of baseball.
“When we came here, I knew I could not bat ball but now I know I can bat ball very well, but when it comes to catching before I can’t catch that perfectly but now I knew I can catch it very well,” said a player, Ansalem Adamu.
A former professional pitcher in the US major league, Jeremy Guthrie was the head coach for the camp.
“I think they have exceeded expectations. They have a good foundation, good coaching and a good understanding of baseball. So, a very nice start for baseball here in Nigeria with these kids here,” he said.
Local coach, Auta Williams said the game is low key among Nigerian kids adding that many take up football from a young age, but with more professional training, the aim is to make it more mainstream and maybe even build teams that can compete internationally.
Although many take up football from a young age, with more professional training, the aim is to make it more mainstream and maybe even build teams that can compete internationally.
“They are doing a great job by spreading baseball around the country, you know to utilize it as an opportunity to engage youths in Nigeria in very positive things, not only teaching them about sports and the value of exercising and maintaining good health but also talking about drugs and staying away from drugs, about being leaders in their communities, about teamwork. All the things that will make them good citizens” said Russel Brooks, the information officer at the US embassy in Abuja.
Baseball is still developing in most parts of Africa.
One of the most famous players from the continent is South African-born Gift Ngoepe, the first African to appear in a Major League Baseball game.