By Joe Apu
Nigeria sports icon and director of the International Tennis Academy, Godwin Kienka, has described the Federal Government’s ban of basketball activities from international competitions by the Ministry of Youth and Sports as “very primitive and shameful sports politics.
The author of the recently published “Sports in Nigeria – Going Round in Circles” said in a statement that “the Ministry of Sports hiding behind the presidency to make that decision makes it even more odious. It just confirms what we have exposed in the book that most of those who run sports in this country do not care about the athletes, the coaches and the promotion and development of sports in the country.
“At a time when the national women’s basketball team has qualified for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Australia and the men are on the way to making it a double in the World Cup qualifiers, how does their participation or not participation impede a grassroots or local league program in Nigeria?” the author who has a passion for sports development in the country asked.
“If the decision was from the presidency why did the statement not come from the presidency?
Kienka said, the decision has now denied home based players who would have been a part of the two teams the opportunity of being scouted by agents from America, Australia, Spain, France and Italy where professional leagues thrive from landing dollar contracts that would change their lives and those of their families and communities. It has also wiped out the momentum Nigeria’s basketball is gaining at the world stage.