The Nigerian Ambassador to Mali, His Excellency Ken Nwachukwu has showered encomiums on the Nigeria Basketball Federation under the leadership of Engineer Musa Kida for improving the international status of Nigeria on the global stage through the exploits of the D’Tigress team at the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket.
Ambassador Nwachukwu made this known on Thursday when the Senior Women’s National Team and some board members led by Engineer Kida paid him a courtesy call at the Nigerian Embassy in Bamako.
“In international relations, there is something we call elements of power. One of it is your population, education, your resources, the kind of human beings you have and another one is sports.
“By your accomplishment at this tournament, you have become part of the power projection of our country, Nigeria.”
Ambassador Nwachukwu who was speaking at a dinner reception for the team said the resounding victory recorded after their group games had not gone unnoticed on the streets of Bamako and throughout Africa which has again confirmed the giant status of Nigeria on the continent.
He praised the board for assembling a crop of dedicated players and a sound technical crew who have not only shown commitment on and off the court but have defended the integrity of the country of which the federal government is aware.
“Let me inform you that the President, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari is aware that you are here. Despite just returning to the country recently, in his usual meticulous self, he knows you are here on international assignment and he is monitoring your progress.”
Ambassador Nwachukwu who was presented with a replica jersey of the team during the brief event said if the momentum showed by the current Musa Kida led board is maintained, Nigeria’s basketball will soon become a reference point in the world.
“Coming to Mali and going unbeaten is part of power projection. When you walk as a Nigerian on the streets of Bamako, you walk as a star by what you have done.”
In his response, the NBBF president said the dominant performance of the team was as a result of the new policy statement of the board on athletes’ welfare after their swearing-in by the Honorable Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung on the 21st of July.
“In fulfilment of our mandate as a board, Nigerian players all over the world are our clients because without them there will be no basketball federation.
“Now players are free to express their opinion and table their grievances which has given them a new status. They now see themselves as an integral part of the system rather than just mere tools in the hands of administrators.”
“The accommodation arrangements during their weeklong camping exercise, the prompt payment of their entitlements have shown that players welfare is paramount to the new NBBF. Players and the coaching crew have nothing to worry about than just to play basketball,” Kida concluded.