By Lateef Adekola
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida has scored his administration high, despite all the challenges faced.
Kida who presented the Score Card of some of his achievements to the stakeholders at the Extraordinary Congress held in Abuja at the weekend, said as a Board since he was elected as the NBBF President in 2017, including his tenure as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee from July 2021, that Nigeria’s Women has participated in and won 3 Women Afrobasket Competitions in Mali, Senegal and most recently Cameroon (2017, 2019 & 2021 respectively).
“In basketball parlance we call these feats a “Three Peat “or “Back -to -Back -to Back”. Winning this Tournaments enabled Nigeria to participate in the 2018 FIBA Women World Cup, in Tenerife, Spain, the 2020 Olympic Qualifying Tournaments and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. At the 2018 Women World Cup in Spain, Nigeria set an African record reaching the Quarterfinals, the first by an African Women Team in World Basketball history. Our D’Tigress beat Turkey, Argentina, and Greece before falling to Team USA in the Quarter Finals after a close first half”.
” Nigeria’s Men had participated in the 2017 Men’s Afro Basket after just 2 weeks of camping and won silver medal, beating highly rated teams like Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Cameroon, and Senegal, after just two weeks camping. We also participated in the 2019 FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers and after 4 rounds of matches became the 1st country across the globe to qualify for the World Cup in China.
Nigeria hosted 2 of the 4 World Cup Windows and it is gratifying that as a result of this Nigerians saw topflight international Basketball and our Nigerian Stars playing at home after a long time. The extra incentive is that our Men’s Team used the opportunity of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, for which our National Team also qualified as No. 1 in the Africa, as our route to qualifying directly for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
In the process, Nigeria beat teams like North Korea, Cote D’Ivoire and the mighty Chinese Team before their home fans to pick an Olympic ticket as Africa’s sole representative at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. It is also instructive to add that Nigeria was among the few select countries whose Male and Female Teams both qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The others been Australia, France, USA and host Japan. This is another record in the anals of African Basketball”
Kida said “at the 3×3 level which is the new wave in basketball, we participated in many tournaments across the globe and these include Tornoi Salamatou Maiga 3×3 Tournament, an U 18 for Boys and Girls Tournament in Mali, in September, 2017 and 2018, as well as the African Youth Games in Algeria 2018, where our National U18 Boys & Girls Teams both placed 2nd respectively.
” We also participated in the African Beach Games in Cape Verde in 2019. Our Senior Men and Women 3×3 Teams are amongst the highest ranked teams in Africa. It is also interesting to note is the fact that our Men were African Champions in 2017 and have participated in the 2018 World Cup in Manila, Philippines, while our Women and Men’s Team won Gold and Bronze Medals respectively at the All-Africa Games in Morocco in Rabat, 2019.
” Our participation in these 3×3 competitions with the desired impact is an indication of the interest of the NBBF under my leadership to develop youth basketball in Nigeria. It is not a surprise therefore that FIBA considers Nigeria as the hotbed of 3×3 Basketball in Africa based on the popularity of the event in Nigeria and the supporting FINAL 3×3 Department receives from Nigeria.
” With absolute pride, I wish to state that Nigeria led by well committed 3 x 3 afficionados continues to spearhead the development of 3×3 in Nigeria and FIBA Africa Zone III. We did organize successfully, a series of courses for our Technical Officials between 2017 and date. These include the FIBA Statisticians Certification Course in conjunction with FIBA in October, 2017. The last time Nigeria had held such a Programme before then was in 2003, thus underscoring our commitment to training of our Technical officials. One (1)Technical Delegate, five (5) Technical Commissioners and Nine (9) Referees recently undertook FIBA organized web examinations in order to renew /obtain their respective FIBA licenses.
” I am pleased to announce that through the efforts of the NBBF to uplift our Technical Officials, Nigeria now has one Female FIBA graded Referee in Yahaya Fatima Ibrahim along with the crop of male referees we have in our midst. And it is not a surprise therefore, that referee Kingsley Ojeaburu of Nigeria officiated at the 2021 Afro Basket Qualifiers (First Window) in Kigali, Rwanda, 2021 FIBA U-19 World Championship, in Latvia, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, in Tokyo, Japan and the 2021 Afrobasket for Men in Kigali, Rwanda. While Opeyemi Ogunleye officiated at the 2021 Afrobasket Women Tournament in Yaoundé, Cameroon. In the same vein, Col Sam Ahmedu (Rtd), a FIBA Technical Delegate was invited to preside as a TD at the 2021 Afro Basketball Qualifiers (First Window) in Rwanda and the 2021 Afrobasket Women Tournament, in Yaoundé, Cameroon”.
He said that, the NBBF also organized successfully, the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup Qualifiers in October 2017, in Lagos, for the first time in as much as nearly a decade. This is part of the goals set by Board to host as many Worlds, Zonal and Sub Zone FIBA competitions as possible.
” Also, our Nigerian Club sides, male and female, also continue to perform creditably in continental competitions. First Bank won back-to-Back bronze medals at the FIBA Women Champions Club Final Rounds in 2017 and 2018, while Defenders of Abuja and Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt qualified for the Elite 8 and Group Stage of the inaugural FIBA Afro League Competition, respectively. Rivers Hoopers also represented Nigeria at the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL), organized by FIBA and sponsored by the NBA in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2021″
” Let me also add that our Sponsorship portfolio took some hit. However, we have maintained sponsors like Zenith Bank and secured sponsorship for our National Divisions 1/2 Men’s Leagues from Total E&P Nigeria Ltd. The Sponsorship which ran for an initial two years have been extended by another 5 years by the Sponsor. This represents the first time in the history of Nigerian basketball that our Federation is having a sponsor for any lower tier of the Nigerian League. The new Division 2 League format provides for 74 teams who compete at the State level, leading up to the Divisional, Conference and National Finals. Also, lots of sponsors which included GTB committed support to the World Cup Qualifying programmes that assisted the NBBF in hosting the World Cup Qualifiers in Lagos”
“There are lots more accolades to mention which include, proper Camping and training for our National Teams players in Europe and the USA which has enabled the Teams to perform well. Victories over the USA Men’s and the Argentinian National Teams with their array of top-class players in Las Vegas, USA/ Pre -Olympic Games Tournament was not a fluke. In the same vein, the D’Tigres beat teams like Serbia, Belgium and Puerto Rico in their warmup matches undertaken across Europe before the Tokyo Olympic Game this past summer.
The effect is that Nigeria is no longer considered minnows in World Basketball and our FIBA Ranking has improved with effect. The country should indeed be proud of our players for these humble achievements” Kida concluded.