Kida hopeful FIBA won’t bar Nigeria from Afrobasket
Newly elected Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President, Musa Kida has assured fans of the sport that the country’s men and women national teams will compete in the upcoming FIBA Afrobasketball Championships. The assurance stems from the apprehension by many stakeholders that FIBA might bar the country from the championships due to the leadership dispute stemming from the claims of the immediate past board of the federation, led by Tijjani Umar, that they are still the right administrators of the sport. But Kida has dismissed such fears, saying FIBA knows the true situation of things in Nigeria.
Kida told The Guardian at the weekend that his mission is to ensure basketball is played in all communities, cities and villages across the country, adding the efforts would be useless if the players were stopped from exhibiting their skills in the international arena.
“The NBBF will commence total restructuring of the game for this expectation to manifest in future.
“Getting the hosting right for major tournaments will also be my focus because watching the national team play live in the country is another process of advertising and encouraging youths to be more interested in the sport. The NBBF has started making arrangements for the male and female national teams to take part in the Afrobasketball championship. The camp will open immediately my board is inaugurated.
“Every Nigerian based home and abroad is eligible to contest for shirts in the national team. The national league is another area that needs more sponsors. I am ready to work with the former board to contribute their quota to the development of the sport,” he said
He also said that “basketball, which is one of the three top sports in Nigeria, has not been able to attract more youths over the years due to poor awareness created by the leadership.”
To change the situation, Kida said his board would focus on players’ development from their formative stage to other age grades, as well as training coaches regularly to meet global standard.
Kida said: “Through youth development programmes at the grassroots levels, talents will be discovered and monitored as they progress. If the right steps were taken to revamp the system, Nigeria would not be searching for players to participate in major championships.”
The FIBA Zone Three General Secretary added: “I want to see every youth in the country show more interest in playing basketball like they do the game of football.
“I will like to let you know that as a member of FIBA, other countries in the world and Africa are expecting Nigeria to be a force to reckon with in basketball because of the large population of our youths.”