Federation Explains Need For Open Trials 

The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has said that inadequate funding is hampering its programme ahead of the 2023 Afrobasket Championship scheduled to hold I Kigali, Rwanda from July 28 to August 6.

Defending champions, D’Tigress began training for the championship in Abuja last week after the successful conclusion of the open trial conducted in Lagos, Abuja and Chicago.

After the exercise, the coaches selected the successful players for the final training in Abuja before they depart for Kigali. The NBBF, however, has raised the alarm over its lack of the necessary finances to execute its programme for the championship, saying that the Federal Government is yet release funds for the country’s participation in the tournament 

It said: “The format of the trials was also quite necessary and unavoidable, as the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports is currently faced with paucity of funds, that has affected all the Sports Federations and government is yet to provide the required funds for the 2023 Women’s AfroBasket Championship.

“There are such liabilities as the last Women’s AfroBasket Championship played in Cameroun in 2019, amongst many others, in which the Nigerian Women’s National team (D’Tigress) prepared, participated and won the trophy, are undergoing processing and still not refunded till this day.

“The Tokyo Olympics preparation of the Men and women’s national teams is also in advanced stages with the Ministry for refund. Faced with this circumstance and reality, the NBBF is not in a position to buy air tickets, pay hotel bills and pay allowances for these trials on its own, as the federation cannot limitlessly continue to borrow on specific programmes with such borrowed funds with limited visibility on when they will be paid. Despite the fact that these liabilities of borrowed funds are yet to be paid, we do appreciate the Ministry’s huge effort in processing the refunds.”

On the open trials, NBBF described as misconceptions the notion that it embarrassed the country. It said: “The NBBF would want to clarify some misconceptions, false information, misleading interviews and some deliberately paid untrue journalistic efforts, which have been making rounds in the media space, that have the tendency to tarnish and denigrate the image and efforts of NBBF and the Federal Government, if left unchecked.
“The open trials that were undertaken in Chicago, Lagos and Abuja, were opened to all aspiring talented Nigerian female players, who are ready to showcase their basketball talents to try out for the Nigerian Women’s National team and play in the 2023 Women Afrobasket Championships.

“This is to also enable the NBBF continue its deliberate search for the best talents it can get, and most especially, give the emerging youthful talents, all over the globe, opportunity to avail themselves for consideration and possible selection to the national team. An opportunity we have always created for talented players since we took over on 2017.”

The NBBF added that the federation has not shut the door on any player who wishes to represent the nation at international engagements, insisting that it was not its fault that D’Tigress did not participate in last year’s Women’s Basketball World Cup.

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