D’Tigers Participation In China Autumn Tour, Brews Fresh Ripples In NBBF Board
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By: Chinedum Ohanusi
The participation of Nigeria’s denior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers in the ongoing China Autumn Tour tournament, has further exposed the divisions plaguing the board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), headed by Engr. Musa Ahmadu Kida.
The autumn tour of China provides the D’Tigers an opportunity to be back in action for the first time since their embarrassing ouster from the Paris 2024 Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournament hosted by Nigeria in Lagos; and their failure to qualify for the recently concluded 2023 FIBA men’s World Cup, co-hosted by Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
But eye-brows have been raised, after the secretariat and president of the Federation, Engr. Kida kept the invitation from the Chinese organizers under lock and key for three weeks; only to make it public a couple of days to the team’s depature, for the invitational tournament.
First, the question was, did the NBBF Board meet to discuss the invitation, and who approved the tour?
Having crashed out of all major competitions and with no immediate tournament, in the horizon for the D’Tigers what is the essence of the tour?
Why was the regular Coach of the team, Ogoh Odaudu dropped from the team, and why is the team populated by a lot of local players, who may be lacking match fitness, since the domestic league isn’t on?
A source however told us that the leadership of the NBBF and his band of praise singers were the ones taking the decisions; and what is motivating them is the appearance fee they will get from the organizers of the tour, more than any other legitimate consideration.
Such tournaments usually attract sumpteous appearance fees; in addition to the full payment for the airfares, feeding and accomodation, of the invited teams; throughout the period of the tournament, by the organizers.
The players unveiled late on Sunday evening to represent Nigeria at the tournament are to be Coached by Mohammed Abdulrahman and Baba Jibrin; and the team which has departed for China will play games in different Cities, until October 20th, 2023.
Asked about his being dropped from the traveling contingent, home-based Head Coach, Ogoh Odaudu said “there are no hard feelings, at all”.
According to Coach Odaudu; “there’s nothing at stake at tournament itself, hence the decision of the NBBF to give his assistants, the opportunity to take the players, of which the majority are fringe players, looking to break into the senior team”.
However, some basketball followers who spoke to us, think the local players on the tour, should have been made to remain and play for their respective clubs in the upcoming NBBF Premier League.
But with some of the notable players being away, it means the Premier League which is already starting late, runs a risk of being further delayed; and that would inadvertently force another abridged league, this season.
On a cheerful note, the hurridly assembled D’Tigers began the Autumn Tour of China, with a 75-70 victory, over a United States selected side, on Wednesday.