…calls for immediate reversal
Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team D’Tigress have kicked against the two-year ban on basketball activities by the federal government.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development on May 12 revealed that the country’s national basketball teams have been banned from partaking in international basketball events for two years in order to solve the internal crisis that has rocked the Nigeria Basketball Federation for several years after the crisis escalated earlier this year when parallel elections were held on January 31 to usher in new executive boards.
Elections held in Abuja brought in Mark Igoche as president while the other which took place in Benin City, the Edo State capital returned incumbent Musa Ahmadu-Kida as president.
Before and after the elections, the sports ministry had been in charge of the country’s national teams since the dissolution of the boards in April 2021.
The ministry handled the men and women’s team to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as well as the women’s Afrobasket in 2021 and were also uncharge of the men’s 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers while they also were in charge of D’Tigress who booked their ticket for the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Serbia.
A ban on the national teams from taking part in international events means D’Tigress will miss the 2022 Women’s World Cup in Australia later this year.
However, in a letter dated May 20, and directed to the sports ministry, D’Tigress said they are against the ban and want an immediate reversal of the ban.
“We, as the Women’s National Team of Nigeria would like to speak on the government’s recently placed two year ban on all Nigerian Basketball International competitions.
“The D’Tigress team would like to state that we do not agree with this ban. This ban is taking away all our future competitions, accomplishments and goals to elevate, inspire, and make Nigeria proud!
“We would like to be given the opportunity to play for our country that we passionately love to represent in this upcoming event @FIBAWWC competition.
“We have worked very hard to be 3x Afrobasket Champions, Olympians and now we are blessed with another opportunity to continue that representation for Nigeria.
“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 organization. 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.
“We wish to express our gratitude to all the coaches, medical staff, organizers, and fans. This ban not only penalizes us but you all as well. Your commitment and loyalty to our team will never go unnoticed.
“Our goal is to play and represent Nigeria proudly! We, as the Nigerian Women’s National Team plea for the reversal of the International Basketball ban for Nigeria. We hope to be heard! Thank you.”