By Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Chairman of the Interim Committee of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), Engineer Ahmadu Musa Kida, has said he is ready to reclaim the leadership of elite sports in the upcoming NBBF elections.
Kida praised Youth and Sports Minister Sunday Dare for providing the necessary support for the national basketball team’s participation in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
He made the declaration of his intention to compete at a press conference in Abuja ahead of the 2021 Premier League Basketball season which begins simultaneously in the Atlantic and Savannah conferences.
âFor me, what is important to go to the elections is that we can make this program very sustainable. In my consultations, the last four years have been interesting. Basketball is a sport that Nigerians expect the country to come out and win without excuses, âhe said.
âSo for me we are on the right track. I am ready to serve in any capacity I can to put these structures in place; for Nigerian basketball to be better, âKida noted, adding thatâ position doesn’t matter. President or not, the most important thing is to perpetuate the legacy already acquired. I am ready to serve if the NBBF finds me in good shape. ‘
Meanwhile, Kida also appreciated Dare for the supporting role he played during the Tokyo Olympics, noting that the Minister worked diligently to ensure that the gaps created on Nigeria’s basketball teams by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC)) have been corrected
“I commend the Honorable Minister for his role in ensuring that basketball teams have a full complement of officials at the Tokyo Olympics.”
The NBBF boss argued that with the Olympics incident, the IOC and the NOC can be accused of tactically sabotaging the efforts of Nigeria’s basketball teams to reach the podium at the games.
The President further described the poor instruction given to the NBF by the IOC via the NOC before the event as sabotage which has become a cog in the acceleration wheel of Nigerian teams at the Tokyo Olympics.
According to him, âwe have always been entitled to a full complement of our officials at the Games, but after our preparations and our arrival at the Olympic Games proper, the NOC came with the directive that we are only entitled to 3 officials. only, which included only two technical managers.
âI was very sad to understand that they were only going to allow three of our technical officials, instead of the eight or nine that we are already used to. It actually affected the team a lot and cost us the first two games.
âWe became more suspicious when the games started, we found that other countries were carrying a full complement of their coaches and officials, even countries that didn’t have as many athletes as we did.
âFrom there, the players definitely got demoralized because they couldn’t have their coaches who could give them the necessary technical interviews. What the NBBF did was make sure everyone was on the pitch. It hurt us so badly, no doubt.
âWe asked FIBA, the governing body of basketball, who actually claimed to ignore why such instructions came from the IOC at the Olympics. It was the same situation for the men’s and women’s teams, ânoted Kida.
âSeeing the situation on the ground, the Minister mobilized to see that there was an increase in the number of our team managers.
âThe minister really helped us by making sure that we had an increase in the number of officials, by that time we had lost the first two games at the Olympics. It was thanks to the minister’s efforts that the camp was finalized without any problem.
âIt was a boost enough for us, we cannot thank the Minister enough. Nigerians should be proud of us, for us to go to the Olympics there were a lot of basketball nations that couldn’t get there but when it comes to Nigeria both men and women teams participated , I am proud of it and I would like us to build on that, and want the Nigerians to congratulate the minister for his support, âKida insisted.
In a related development, the Nigeria Men’s Basketball League finally came to life in Abuja on Wednesday after years of hesitation.
The NBF league started at Package B at Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja and Akure, Ondo State.
A court case had shut down the league over the years, but the February judgment overturned all cases, a verdict many have described as a victory for basketball in the country.
Speaking to reporters on the recovery, Kida assured that measures had been put in place to have a better Nigerian Premier League in basketball.
âEveryone is on deck to start Premier League Basketball in the Atlantic and Savannah conferences. The secretariat is responsible for sending letters to the various clubs and that is the reason why the League is starting in Abuja, âhe noted.