By Emma Jemegah, Group Sports Editor
IN a circle dominated by football, where there’s hardly no room for other sports to thrive, Nigerian basketball has braced the odds to remain relevant, at least since the coming of Ahmadu Musa Kida, an engineer, as president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF). Although his predecessor laid the foundation, Kida has taken the game to a height never attained before his election on June 13, 2017.
A former basketball player himself, Kida, in his first few months as president of the NBBF, saw the men’s national team finish second to host Tunisia, at the 2017 Afrobasket. In the same year, he led the Nigeria women team to win the Afrobasket Women title in Mali. The girls didn’t lose a single game on their way to the final. There they picked a ticket to Nigeria’s first Women World Cup and gave President Muhammadu Buhari government its first sports trophy.
In 2018, the women team played in the FIBA World Cup in Tenerife, Spain where they finished eighth to set an African record of emerging the first African team to reach a quarterfinal place.
Under Kida, Nigeria hosted, for the first time in 23 years, the FIBA World Cup African qualifiers. Given the organisation that was put in place, FIBA granted Nigeria a second window, a rare opportunity given only to Angola after Nigeria.
Unlike in the past, top flight Nigerian players never had the opportunity to play before their families but the NBBF board under Kida not only did this for the men but also did same for the women team that trained in Nigeria before heading out for competitions. The Nigeria men’s team emerged the first country to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup outside host nation, China with three matches to spare.
At the FIBA General Assembly in Beijing, the Nigeria Basketball Federation was adjudged the Most Improved in Women Basketball development and was presented an award accordingly. Nigeria’s ranking in FIBA has been at number 1 in Africa in the last two years. It got to an all time high of 23 in the world after the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China 2019.
Despite the fact that the former board of the NBBF did not hand over anything to Musa Kida, he has put in his personal funds and connections to promote the game in Nigeria. In April 2018, the NBBF signed N60 million sponsorship deal for the Nigerian Divisions 1 and 2 male basketball leagues with Total Nigeria Limited.
Kida, Deputy Managing Director, Deep Water Services, of Total Nigeria, received his degree in Civil Engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1984. He obtained a postgraduate diploma in Petroleum Engineering from the Institut Francaise du Petrol (IFP) in Paris.