The Nigerian Government has pledged support to the men and women’s basketball teams for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Nigerian Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has promised to give the Nigeria Basketball Federation the resources it needs to compete at Tokyo 2020.
It will be the first time Nigeria is represented in both the men and women’s Olympic basketball contest.
The men’s team qualified through the 2019 Basketball World Cup and the women’s side booked their place through the Olympic qualifying tournament in Serbia in February.
Nigeria Basketball Federation President Musa Ahmadu-Kida had previously asked for $4 million (£3 million/€3.3 million) for the Games.
“We’ve been working with the basketball team in the last 10 months to make sure we get the requisite funding and support for them,” Dare said.
“We know how much they need, we’ve sat down with them to say look, ‘having come this far, you must not let up.’
“We have a budget for them and Government will support our basketball team with the budget that will make them perform at the Olympics.
“The Government is not waiting for private funding when it comes to basketball.”
Dare also suggested the funds that would have been directed towards the Olympic football contest could go to basketball instead.
Nigeria has not qualified for the men or women’s football tournaments at Tokyo 2020.
“We’re not doing football at the Olympics this time, so we’ll find a way to marshall the resources that would have gone for football and put it at the disposal of basketball,” Dare said.
“We are focused on making sure that basketball gets the support it needs.”
The Nigerian men’s basketball team has competed at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, finishing 10th and 11th respectively.
An 11th place finish at Athens 2004 has been the women’s team’s only appearance at the Games.
The Olympics in Tokyo were postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Competition is now scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8.