Crisis Hit Nigeria Basketball Team Ahead Of The 2025 FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers

Crisis Hit Nigeria Basketball Team Ahead Of The 2025 FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers

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By Agency Report

Crisis has hit the camp of Nigeria’s senior men’s basketball team as the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF has announced the withdrawal team the D’Tigers from the 2025 FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers.

According to a release by the NBBF, the withdrawal from the qualifiers was due to the inability of the Ministry of Sports to provide the federation with the needed funds for the trip.

A few hours later, the federation again said it was making last-minute attempts for D’Tigers to participate in the tournament.

“The federation is aiming to finalise a roster and gather funds in time to play AfroBasket qualifiers,” a post read on the D’Tigers X handle.

The PUNCH has, however, gathered that the team arrived in Tunisia Thursday ahead of the qualifiers.

Some basketball players, who spoke with The PUNCH , said they weren’t surprised by the NBBF’s statement, adding that they had been unfairly treated over the years.

Former First Bank player, Theresa Dangosu, said, “At this point in time, there’s nothing to be shocked about when it concerns basketball because of the type of leadership we have in the NBBF, and we can also extend it to the country as a whole.

“The main focus has always been placed on football, as though there aren’t other sports in Nigeria.

“Our women D’Tigress won their fourth consecutive AfroBasket, there weren’t any encomiums from the government to them, they just qualified for the Olympics, and still everyone is silent.

“Even with how badly everyone said the Super Eagles performed at the AFCON and came second against hosts, Ivory Coast, they still got welcomed, celebrated and given honours, awards, lands and money.”

She added, “I think we all know where the priorities of the Nigerian government lie when it comes to sports.

“And can you blame the government? No, because we have a failed system in the NBBF, people who cannot go to the government with the needs of the federation because of how much they’ve abused those privileges in the past. This is a clear case of incompetence because what does an incompetent body do?  Blame everyone every time for their failures, nothing is ever their fault.

“This is where we are in the affairs of governance with the NBBF and the country as a whole, so nothing surprises me again.”

Marilyn Ogoigbe, who plays for First Bank basketball club, said NBBF officials cared less about the players.

She said, “About this, I’m not surprised at all, I mean the people in charge don’t care about players, they are all about themselves.

“A tournament they ought to have prepared for and they decided to withdraw days before jump ball because of lack of funds. What’s the ministry doing about it? I mean they were able to sponsor the Super Eagles to AFCON, why is basketball always different?”

Former Rivers Hoopers star Austin Akpejiori, who now features for Tunisian side  Union Sportive El Ansa, said he was left embarrassed after the NBBF announced they had withdrawn D’Tigers form the tournament.

“Truth is I wasn’t shocked, I was embarrassed. How low can we get as a basketball community? The federation keeps staining our white.”

It is not the first time that paucity of funds has threatened D’Tigers’ participation in a major basketball tournament.

In 2019, the team nearly missed out on featuring in the 2019 FIBA World Cup until a late intervention by the then Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

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