Poised to raise the stake of basketball in the country, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has disclosed that the earlier agreement it entered into with the International Management Group (IMG) would be strengthened to further widen the scope and popularity of basketball development in Nigeria.
President of NBBF, Mr. Tijani Umar, who spoke at the opening day of the ongoing stakeholders’ forum and pre-season seminar put together by NBBF in collaboration with its partners, maintained that the federation would not relent in making sure that the game of basketball takes the lead among other sports in the country.
He said: “We are poised to surmount every challenge before us in our quest to move on. On the youth development programme, we have already launched into NBA African development initiative. We invited about ten schools to participate and we are using Abuja and Lagos as our pilot areas.
“Right now, why we are not making the desired progress is that there are no younger ones to take over from the aged players. We are not going to rely solely on the Federal Government budget even it is the responsibility of government to provide for the development of its people. On our own, we have engaged IMG to help us bring experts and resources to drive the development process. The IMG team is currently in Lagos”
On the recent loss by Nigeria in its bid for wild card for World Championship, Alhaji Umar, maintained that the country’s loss would spur his board to aspire to greater heights.
Brazil, Greece, Turkey and Finland grabbed the wildcards to participate at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Nigeria is one of the 15 countries which applied to the International Basketball Federation for the four wildcards. The four winners will join 20 others, who had qualified previously, to feature at the 24-team World Cup.
Earlier, while declaring the NBBF stakeholders’ forum, minister of sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, charged leadership of NBBF to brace up to its impending challenges.
Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Sport, Hon. Godfrey Gaiya, is among selected stakeholders who graced the meeting which would end on Sunday.
By Ikenna Okonkwo