BY JOE APU
The Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF still smarting from the visa denial by the Spanish embassy to the women’s U-17 basketball team for the 2016 FIBA Women’s championship currently on in Zaragoza, Spain has reneged on its promise of having the girls play in the FIBA Africa Zone 3 U-18 championship for boys and girls scheduled to commence from 2nd – 9th July, 2016 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
This is because the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has withdrawn from the competition. The competition is the Qualifiers for the FIBA Africa U18 Championship scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda in October, 2016. The winners and Runners up in Rwanda are to represent Africa at the 2017 World U 19 Championships for wen and women.
FIBA – Africa zone 3 was informed of Nigeria’s withdrawal via an email on Monday 27th, June, 2016, five days to the commencement of the Championship in Cotonou. No reason was given for the country’s withdrawal.
Confirming this development, FIBA Africa Zone 3 President, Col Sam Ahmedu (Rtd), stated that;
“It is indeed a sad development that Nigeria, which is one of the top countries in the Zone is withdrawing at this eleventh hour for a tournament it registered for over four months ago. This will no doubt take some shine off the championship. This development also denies Nigerian youth players the opportunity of competing with their peers at this level. Coming on the heels of the recent visa imbroglio which denied the national U 17 girls team travelling to Spain for the World Championship, it means that our Nigerian youths will not be participating in any international tournament this year.
Meanwhile, all arrangements have been concluded for the Zone 3 Qualifiers holding at the Halle des Arts, Cotonou, Benin on Saturday, 2nd July, 2016.