Nigeria’s U-17 basketball team forfeits points to Canada, Japan
Lagos journalists petitions Dalung over botched trip to Spain
World basketball ruling body (FIBA) yesterday said that Nigeria’s U-17 team would be credited with forfeits for their game against Canada and Japan in the on-going FIBA U-17 Women’s World Championship in Spain. This comes on the heels of a petition by Lagos journalists urging Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, to investigate the circumstances leading to the Spanish Embassy’s refusal to issue travelling visas to the Nigerian team.
FIBA said yesterday that after the second forfeit, all of the results of Nigeria’s games shall be nullified.FIBA said in the letter: “Nigeria will not compete at the 2016 FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship after the team was unable to be issued the necessary visas to travel to Zaragoza, Spain.
“The President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijjani Umar, confirmed in a letter sent to FIBA that, despite the federation taking all the necessary steps in due course to obtain the visas, they were denied them.
As a result of their absence, and in line with FIBA’s rules, Nigeria will be credited with forfeits for Wednesday’s game against Canada and Thursday’s game against Japan. After the second forfeit, all of the results of their games shall be nullified.”
Meanwhile, Lagos sports journalists yesterday called on the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, to institute investigations into the circumstances surrounding the non-issuance of visas to the national u-17 female basketball team to the FIBA u-17 Championships in Spain and the disqualification of the national female boxing team to the Rio 2016 World Qualification Competition held in Kazakhstan.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), the Spanish Consulate and NAPTIP have all denied responsibility for the failure of the trip with the NBBF explaining in a recent release that it duly informed and got responses from the customs and immigration authorities but NAPTIP failed to respond to it.
In the case of the female national boxing team, which was sponsored by the Nigerian Army, they arrived late to the venue of the Olympic qualification competition in Kazakhstan and were barred from participating.
The journalists in a letter to the minister dated June 22 and signed by Fred Edoreh and Emma Njoku, pointed out that both incidents amounted to “denial and embarrassment to the country, waste of the investment, time and efforts committed in preparing the athletes, infliction of emotional trauma and discouragement of the athletes.”
It called on the sports minister to “investigate the circumstances surrounding these failures and sanction culpable sports administrators or report any confirmed act of negligence or sabotage by either NAPTIP or the Spanish Embassy to government for necessary action as we can no longer afford to waste resources and continue to undermine the growth and progress of our sports.”