Group photo of Nile University’s Basketball team (Nile Spartans) at the NUGA Games

By the time the curtain was drawn on the 2022 NUGA (Nigerian University Games Association) Games on Saturday, March 26th, the question on the lips of some members of the audience during the event’s opening ceremony parade when the Nile University contingent made their appearance had been emphatically answered.

The recently concluded 26th edition of the NUGA Games, which was held in UNILAG, was Nile University’s first appearance at the prestigious competition. Thus, it was unsurprising that the appearance of the University’s representatives, dressed in beautiful blue tracksuits and waving the Nile University and Honoris United Universities flags during the opening ceremony parade prompted the question: “Who is Nile University of Nigeria?”, among a sizable section of the crowd present at the event. A 3rd placed finish and 38 medals (15 gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze) later, and that question had been answered with a resounding “we are the new force in Nigerian university sports”.

Nile University’s impressive performances at the NUGA Games, which included winning the coveted Basketball gold medal, though surprising to many, was predictable given the consistent growth and many successes enjoyed by the University in sports in recent years, especially since its acquisition by Honoris United Universities, the first and largest pan-African private higher education network, in 2020.

Nile Spartans in action during the NUGA Basketball final (gold medal) match vs UNILAG

Since joining the Honoris network, Nile University’s sports program has received a significant boost through increased financial support and enhanced structure. For starters, the University’s sports department was revamped with the addition of more coaches to the roster; two coaches have been hired for volleyball and football respectively, with plans to hire further support for other sports already underway. The department also enjoyed significantly increased financial support from the University Management as illustrated by its robust sports scholarship program which enables students that display athletic prowess to study at Nile University for free, as well as its sports teams’ fully-sponsored participation in numerous competitions within and outside Abuja providing student-athletes invaluable extra-curricular experience.

Group photo of Nile University’s Volleyball team at the NUGA Games

The enhanced support enjoyed by Nile University’s student-athletes was best demonstrated at the 2022 NUGA Games where the University received rave reviews on social media for sparing no expenses in ensuring the maximum comfort of its representatives, including transporting the 33-person team to Lagos by plane.

These efforts have catapulted Nile University to the most successful era in its sports history. Some of the sporting accomplishments enjoyed by Nile in the past trophy-laden two years (post-Honoris acquisition) include the 2021 National Division 1 Basketball Championship (Gold), 2021 Abuja City Basketball League (Gold), 2021 Sam Ogwuche International Sports Foundation Basketball Tournament (Gold), 2021 Life Camp Unity Volleyball Cup (Gold), amongst others.

Nile University’s excellent showing at the NUGA Games where it romped to an impressive 3rd place finish, leaving 70 other universities in its wake was, therefore, not a one-off but a continuation of a trend of success and the culmination of years of sports development.

Group photo of Nile University’s NUGA contingent and members of the University’s Leadership during the welcome dinner organized for the former at the luxurious Sheraton Hotel, Abuja

When Nile University joined the Honoris United Universities network in July 2020, there was no doubt that its ability to provide students with the relevant 21st-century skills to thrive in a globalized world would be significantly enhanced, propelling it to the exclusive league of nationally renowned universities celebrated for academic excellence. Very few people would, however, have envisaged that joining the pan-African network would also have such a transformative impact on the University’s sports department within such a short period, turning it into a major driver of awareness for the institution.

Omolayo Bamidele— Gold Medalist, Women’s Singles Tennis (Left) being presented a certificate of commendation by Nile University’s VC, Prof. Dilli Dogo (Right), during the welcome dinner at Sheraton Hotel

Yet, that is exactly what has happened. Thanks to the exploits of the University’s representatives at the 2022 NUGA Games, the next time the name “Nile University of Nigeria” is mentioned in various corners of the country, it will be greeted with a greater sense of familiarity than was the case when it first rang out at the Games’ opening ceremony on March 19th.

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