Secretary of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Francis Gbiri has exclusively told LEADERSHIP SPORTS that the coach to lead the Nigerian U-19 women to the FIBA World Championships in Chile this year is American, Kevin Cook.
Cook led Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team to the world championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2006. He said the coach will serve as the technical adviser of the team while the coach that qualified the girls and earlier named as the head coach, Adewumi Aderemi serves as his assistant.
But as the Under 19 Championships in Chile draws nearer, checks reveal that the preparations of the Nigerian contingent to the tournament is attracting some concern within basketball enthusiasts and some inside the federation following claims that the federation has perfected plans to drop all home based players who have been in camp for a 100% foreign side based abroad.
Reacting yesterday through phone, Gbiri said the rumours that the federation is going to the event with all foreign based players is not true.
“There is no truth about going to the championship with only foreign based players. We are taking some local players but it will be in ratio of 60/40 in favour of the foreign based. The technical adviser is from the United States. He is Kevin Cook and will be assisted by a local coach Adewumi Aderemi.”
LEADERSHIP SPORTS findings reveal that the talks about fielding only the foreign based players is already causing discontentment in the camp and some within the federation are unhappy that the development and treatment meted to some officials and technical crew is unfair.
An official within the federation also told LEADERSHIP SPORTS that the plan on ground is to allow only Adewumi Aderemi travel out to the training camp in the United States without his assistants.
But that could also be because of the financial strength of the federation. He also said that some are aggrieved because Adewumi who qualified the team for the World Championships is at the end going to play second fiddle to another coach.
“No other coaching staff will accompany coach Adefemi, worst still is that no player who helped the team qualify for the tournament will be used for the competition as new girls have been sourced for in the United States to prosecute the championship.
Why didn’t they use the American girls instead all through the qualifiers? Besides Aderemi knows only three of the new basketball players based abroad that will help the country fight for honours at the World championships.
I think it is unfair that Aderemi who won the ticket for Nigeria, using locally based players is now being demoted to an assistant coach while the American is given the job of guiding the team to the competition.
Another worry is that all but three of the girls in the United States camp that the federation wants to use have never visited Nigeria and were born in America to Nigerian parents.”
The World Championships in Chile is slated for July 24 -30.