BY TAOFEEK LAWAL, Abuja
The Nigeria Basketball Federation has expressed sadness over the inability of the Rivers Hoopers Basketball Federation to participate in the ongoing FIBA Africa zone 3 club championship elimination for men.
The federation said the directive which was communicated to the NBBF through Zone 3 was a rude shock after all plans have been concluded to have 5 teams represent Nigeria at the zonal competition.
Speaking on behalf of the board, Adamu Deshi Janlong who is the Technical representative on the board said, “It’s rather unfortunate that FIBA said Nigeria will not be able to parade more than 4 teams during this competition.
The media officer of the federation Oni Afolabi quoted Janlong as saying, “We thought we had reached an understanding with FIBA on this, but unfortunately, they made a u-turn less than few hours to the first game and ruled that Hoopers would not be able to play.”
The federation however denied the allegation of any attempt to disqualify and ridicule the Hoopers who were already in Lagos for the championship taking place between 11th and 18th of November.
“We are all sad by this development which has stopped about 12 players registered for the competition from playing the game of basketball which they love most. It’s unfortunate that the players are once again at the receiving end of the recent decision of the former board not to hand over after the expiration of their tenure.”
NBBF therefore appealed to the management and players of the club to see their recent travail as another sacrifice needed to pay for the institutionalization of basketball in Nigeria.
“Our President who is the chairman of the Rivers State Basketball Association is the worst hit after his team was stopped by FIBA at the last minute. He met with the players on Sunday to personally break the news to them promising them a better future under his leadership.”
The NBBF says it is contemplating sending a protest letter to the FIBA Africa secretariat over their recent decision to wait until the last minute to communicate their decision to stop the Rivers State-sponsored team from participating in the competition.