The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, has announced the members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the ‘development’ of basketball in Nigeria.
This follows the recent directives of President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of basketball in the country and its withdrawal from all International basketball competitions for the next two years
A statement issued on Monday by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and signed by Mohammed Manga, Director of Press & Press Relations, said the 10-man committee will be required to draw up programmes that will revamp basketball from the grassroots in Nigeria.
The committee is also saddled with reviving the moribund domestic league and attracting corporate sponsors for the development of the game.
Those named in the Interim Management Committee include Henry Nzekwu, Udon Ubon Humapwa, Frank Jitubhoh, Zenith Bank Representative and Adamu Ahmed.
Others are Peter Nelson, Group Captain Rahinatu Garba, Adewunmi, Oluchi Nzekwe, and Sani Adio (SAN).
Monday’s announcement by the Sports Ministry is coming despite calls from various quarters seeking the reversal of the recent self-imposed two-year ban on international basketball in Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES at the weekend reported that the FIBA Africa President Anibal Manave warned that the path being toed by the Federal Government of Nigeria will in the long run cause even more harm than good for the country.
The FIBA Africa boss while speaking with aips.com in Kigali, Rwanda, noted that the players will be the worst hit by the controversial decision even as he promised intervention by the body to seek a possible solution to the impasse.
“This is not going to help Nigeria it could be three or four years. For example, if the men are playing the World Cup Qualifiers if they are banned, they won’t play the qualifiers for 2023. It means if you are not part of the 2023 World Cup you won’t be part of the Olympics in 2024 and to be part of the Afrobasket in 2025, it will be complicated,” Manave explained.
“Is this what we want for our players? No, this is not what we want. We understand that the parties involved are right but we have to protect the players and also we want a good national federation because Nigeria is key. A country of over 200 million people with a lot of talents and we will leave this country alone? No way.
“We will try to bring all these people together to help them out and we believe we will have some news to protect the players
The FIBA Africa president revealed that moves are already being made to quell the crisis as it would be bad not to have a country like Nigeria at the World Cup
“We are very concerned about what is happening in Nigeria because the country is one of the powerhouses in basketball,” he said.
“Nigeria is in the Women’s World Cup and Men’s World Cup Qualifiers by merit and not by any favour so we need to protect all of these.
“We as FIBA are talking to the stakeholders to find the best way to avoid this two years ban.”
Also, the Nigeria Women’s National team, D’Tigress, have publicly spoken out against the two-year ban from international activities wondering why what is working will be crushed to fix what is not.
Among other things, the Ladies believe the ban will deprive them of all future competitions, accomplishments and goals to elevate, inspire, and make Nigeria proud.
“We want Nigerian Basketball to continue to grow and succeed on every level; from the local leagues, grassroots, and even on the international stage!
“We believe that all levels of Nigerian basketball can excel with the proper attention, togetherness, and organisation. Our team is a testament to how successful Nigerian Basketball can be and how we have been an inspiration to all Nigerian athletes across the globe,” the statement released by D’Tigress read in part.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, has been plunged into a series of crises over the years and currently has two parallel boards laying claim to the leadership of the federation.
On January 31, Musa Kida emerged as the winner in the election held in Benin City, Edo State, while Mark Igoche was voted in from the election held in Abuja the same day.
The drastic action taken by the Federal government came on the heels of the last of the protests held by basketball players in Abuja some weeks ago.
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