As the men and women national teams prepare for a busy 2021, the Nigeria Basketball Federation has vowed not to spare any effort in getting the best out of the teams.
This was made known by the International Representative on the board, Colonel Sam Ahmedu, in a chat with newsmen in Lagos.
Ahmedu, who doubles as the Benue State Basketball Association Chairman, said since the board took over in 2017, the welfare of the players has been top of its agenda.
He said: “Getting to the apex of basketball in Africa and rolling with the best in the world never came by accident. It’s a result of deliberate plans and heavy investments in camps, coaches and training.
“We hosted Africa in 2018 and 2019 during the qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China which Nigeria was the first team in the world to qualify for and it never came cheap.
“In the history of basketball in Nigeria, we spent quality time preparing for the 2017, 2019 FIBA Afrobaskets as well as the FIBA world cups in Spain and China which was all about money.”
Ahmedu added that till date, a significant part of the funds spent by the Federation to achieve all that are still to be refunded.
The retired officer of the Nigeria Army confirmed that due to the state of infrastructures, the federation had to think outside the box and put in place a system that works for all.
He said: “We promised Nigerians that their players were going to be closer than ever before.
“Camps for major tournaments and hosting major Continental tournaments will also take place in Nigeria so that the fans can see and also have a feel of these players who represent them on the international stage.
“Rather than go to ready-made facilities outside the country, we had to come home and make our facilities ready for them.”
Ahmedu confirmed that FIBA prescribes best quality infrastructure, and in the absence of quality facilities, the federation had to rent or buy standard equipment for these global stars and the World Qualifiers.
He stressed that at no time in 2018/19 did the NBBF get funds from the Ministry of Sports or any quarter to rent floors as purportedly attributed to him in some sections of the Press in recent times.
He said: “Our gestures have not gone unnoticed.
“Now, we have more Nigerians who are ready to associate with the D’Tigers and D’Tigress brand because of improved welfare and continued rise in global reckoning.”
Ahmedu concluded that the board will not be distracted in ensuring that the game continues to grow, and enjoined all to positively contribute to this remarkable trend.