BY AYOMIDE JAYEOBA
President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Tijani Umar has stated that Nigeria’s current status as Africa’s number 1 ranked team and 16th ranked nation in world Basketball is testament of the hardwork put into the sport by the Federation since.
Umar, who was aroused at the D’Tigers status in the latest FIBA ranking in a chat with Brila FM monitored in Lagos said it was heartwarming and that the bar had just been raised for further improvement.
Meanwhile, in his own reaction, FIBA Africa Zone 3 President, Col. Sam Ahmedu (Rtd) downplayed Nigeria’s rise in the game.
Ahmedu said the ranking hadn’t shown the true level of Basketball development in Nigeria. “We are No 1 in Africa but our local players are poorly paid and are not deemed fit to play for the national team, we should not be celebrating a rating achieved by foreign based players born and bred abroad, this does not reflect anything about Nigerian Basketball “ he said.
The FIBA Africa zone 3 President, however advised the Nigeria Basketball Federation to focus on basketball development, which can only justify Nigeria’s FIBA ranking.
“Although we won the Nations Cup for the first time in 2015 and also qualified for the Olympic Games but our league remains at a very low level, the NBBF has not added any sponsor, aside DStv and Zenith that was there before they came on board.”
“Aside the Nestle Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship which is run by the sponsor, we don’t have any other youth tournament and that is why our players were disqualified for age cheating during the Africa U-16 tournament in Madagascar, grassroots basketball development should be our main priority,” he stated.