Basketball stakeholders are worried that Nigeria may be heading for disaster at the forthcoming Women Afrobasket Championship billed for Rwanda following the decision to take a makeshift team to the championship in Kigali.
Indications that all is not well with the women national team, D’Tigress, emerged at the weekend when the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) chose to invite interested players to join three open camps in the America, Abuja and Lagos, where the country’s representatives to the championship would be picked.
Nigeria, the defending champion of the women Afrobasket Championship, has some of the best crop of African players in its squad, but there are fears that these players may shun the team following the shabby way they were treated when they qualified for the FIBA World Cup in 2022 in Australia.
After qualifying for the World Cup, the Nigerian government unilaterally withdrew the D’Tigress from the competition citing the crisis in the federation then.
The girls felt that their interests were not taken into account before the action was taken, with some of them vowing not to play for the country again.
Now, it is another championship year and the NBBF is in a dilemma on how to raise the squad, hence the open camp in three cities just a few weeks to the competition.
The 2023 Women’s Afrobasket championship will hold in Kigali, Rwanda from July 28 to August 6.
Sources in the NBBF told The Guardian, yesterday, that following the appointment of Rena Wakama as the women’s coach on Friday, it has been difficult for the federation to reach some of the established players hence the resort to open camps.
He raised fears that the players that would turn up at the camps might not be of the required quality to defend Nigeria’s title in Kigali.
The Guardian could not get NBBF President, Musa Kida, or the Vice President, Babs Ogunade, to react to the worries, as they did not reply messages sent to them.
However, the source said the federation was doing everything possible to ensure D’Tigress performed respectably well in Kigali.
The NBBF’s order of trials include sessions in Chicago, U.S. on July 8 and 9; National Stadium, Lagos, July 8 and 9; and Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, July 10 and 11.
The Kigali championship will feature four groups of three teams each at the BK Arena, from July 28 to August 6.