The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) under the leadership of Musa Kida, has expressed gratitude to basketball fans for coming out in large numbers to support the senior national men’s team, D’Tigers at the ongoing qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in Chian.
D’Tigers outclassed their archrival, Senegal, 89-61 to confirm their dominance in the FIBA World Cup series, recording nine straight victories.
Kida told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the match at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium on Sunday in Lagos that he was thrilled by the massive support the fans gave to the team.
He added that the crowded sports hall provided the right atmosphere for the sport and would continue to grow under his leadership.
“It’s a great feeling I must confess, the players gave their best and the fans were so supportive, and the spirit in the hall had brought the kind of excitement we wanted.
“It has indeed been an eventful series and hopefully the players and the coaching crew are the true heroes of the sport.
“When we came on board in the NBBF, we promised all stakeholders that their competitions will be staged for fans of the sport to appreciate and enjoy watching their star players here in Nigeria.
“We can only do more for basketball, especially as the women’s team, D’Tigress also prepare to go for the World Cup which comes up in Spain on Sept. 22,’’ Kida said.
Kida told NAN that the NBBF’s intentions when they came on board was to conquer Africa, and also make Nigeria the destination of choice for basketball.
“We want to ensure the sustainability of the sport, we want our players far away to feel connected to the sport at home and contributing their own quota.
“It is also the very first time in the history of Nigeria where we have our women going for the World Cup and the men also going for the World Cup.
“At the local level, we have the grassroots development programmes such as the Total Division One and Two Leagues in operation.
“At the end we want to say proudly that basketball is back and it is back for good in Nigeria,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the next FIBA Men’s World Cup comes up in February 2019, where Nigeria will play three games against Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Central Africa Republic.
Senegal with seven victories out of nine hopes to build on its wins to book a spot alongside Nigeria for the World Cup which comes up in China.