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Basketball Excels Amidst Crisis

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Despite the leadership crisis that engulfed Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) after the elections that held in June 2017, the country still excelled in the year under review.
The basketball family was fractionalized because of Tijani Umar’s refusal to acknowledge the result of the election that held in Abuja, a day after he organized an orchestrated election in Kano that returned him to power.
With the Sports Ministry and the Nigeria Olympic Committee recognizing the Abuja election, all the shenanigans at the instance of Umar faction fell flat when FIBA acknowledged in a letter affirming the Abuja election won by Musa Kida.
The letter affirmation letter became inevitable when the NOC electoral committee contented that none of the factions would be recognized at the NOC election that held last week in Yola.
FIBA in a letter dated December 18, 2018 and addressed to the Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), Chief Tunde Popoola, who had written FIBA on the need to name the “eligible representative of the NBBF, who will be at the NOC elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) and to vote” in Yola, Adamawa State.
FIBA Secretary General, Andreas Zaglis, replied, “FIBA has communicated with the board of Kida concerning the affairs of the NBBF since July 2017 and has organized FIBA events with the same board’s assistance.
“Besides, FIBA notes that good progress is being made in regularizing fully the NBBF-FIBA relationship, which remains an internal matter of the basketball family, since the NBBF is not suspended and enjoy full rights as a member,” FIBA continued.
FIBA explained that having earlier received a letter from the NOC recognizing the board elected on the 13th of June 2017 in Abuja and the recent memo of the Federal Ministry of Youth Sports Development revalidating Kida and his board, the international body has deemed it fit to accord the board all the necessary recognition.
The latest letter, put paid to insinuations in different quarters over who is in charge of basketball administration in Nigeria expressly named Kida who recently bagged a Doctorate Degree in Credit Management as president.
The letter granting Kida (or a validly nominated delegate of his) therefore nullified the earlier erroneous pronouncement of the NOC electoral committee chaired by Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima that no board had been recognized by FIBA as the legitimate basketball federation.
With FIBA’s position clearly stated on who is in charge of basketball administration in Nigeria, Musa Kida called on all basketball stakeholders to join hands and contribute meaningfully to basketball growth.
He said despite the recent landmark achievements recorded by the board since its assumption of office, more ground could have been covered especially at the home front if not the incessant distractions.
The year began with the Commonwealth Basketball event in Australia. A home based team represented the country at the Commonwealth losing all games as expected. The team finished the competition with four straight losses. D’Tigers scored 248 points but conceded 355; with the team’s captain, Ikechukwu Diogu, posting 84 points. Nigeria however placed sixth at the end of the Games.
However, Kida desired to take the game to the next level ensured that the team got all the support needed in their bid to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
D’Tigers became the first Africa team to qualify for the FIBA Men’s World Cup after winning their first two qualifying tournaments in style.
However, D’t igress participation at the FIBA Women’s Championship was the icing in the cake in a year the country recorded excellent successes internationally.
At the Women’s World Cup, Nigeria became the first African team reached the quarterfinal of any FIBA tournament and were also the first African team to win more than one game in a single World Cup tournament.
Before the tournament, D’Tigress ranked 34th now emerged as the 2nd best team in Africa, replacing Angola.
Head Coach, Hughley Otis Jr. guided the team to a record of 3-4; including straight wins over Turkey, Argentina and Greece.
D’Tigress progress did not go unnoticed by FIBA president, Horacio Muratore.
In an interview granted to the official FIBA blog, Muratore spoke among others, on the performance of Nigeria and Senegal, paying glowing tributes to the D’Tigress, especially.
“One of the best story lines of this Women’s World Cup without a doubt will be that Africa proved it has some very good teams in Nigeria and Senegal.
“These are teams that can play against anyone and I congratulate both of them for their campaigns.
“Senegal had a historic win (against Latvia) and a great game against Spain (in quarterfinal qualifications). They made the tournament hosts tremble a bit. It would have been amazing for both African teams to reach the quarterfinals.
“Nigeria outplayed the USA – the reigning world champions – in the first half of their quarterfinal and got wins over Turkey, Argentina and Greece.
“This is extremely positive for African basketball and for the sport in general.”
At the club level, Rivers Hoopers, Nigeria champions, described the year as the best ever in the history of the club.
Hoopers for the first time won the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Championship early in December in Cotonou finishing with a 5-0 record.
Looking back on 2018, Ifie Ozaka, General Manager of the club labelled it a bitter-sweet experience for the Zone 3 Champions who played only two games all year, before the competition in Cotonou.
“I will describe 2018 as turbulent for the team. We didn’t play any competitive basketball till November where we had only two competitive matches, which qualified us for the FIBA qualifiers in Zone 3. From the turbulence of 2018 we are ending the season on a high. A turbulent season turned out to be our best season and highest point ever in the history of the club.”
Ozaka continued, “Playing a long league where players have to play many matches, where players get more allowances, where the fans of the team come out and watch the team play week in, week out that’s what I would have loved to do this season.
“Not playing a long league and not just the Kwese league wasn’t too good for my team and also fans of basketball in Port Harcourt.”
“I was very impressed with my boys. At the beginning of 2018 when we went out to recruit the couple of players we wanted I think we made very good choices in the transfer market.
“The players we brought in filled the gaps properly. I told them it’s been a long time I had a bunch of talented young men together as a team. A team I believe that can hold their own against any team in Nigeria so I was very impressed with their play judging that they have not had a long time together.
“They played a lot of physical sides and I say kudos to them and if we can keep them together for another season I am sure they will go on to do great things.”

 

Tonye Orabere

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Pinnick Woos FIFA For Tenure Elongation

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The drama, intrigues as well as clandestine moves that have characterised the September 2022 planned Nigeria Football Federation, NFF election took a new twist recently as incumbent president of the federation, Amaju Pinnick has written to FIFA seeking for tenure extension by shifting the election to 2023
According to Tidesports sources, in a letter sent to the world body last week  and signed by General Secretary, Muhhamed Sanusi, the outgoing board led by Amaju Pinnick appealed to the world body to allow it to hold the forthcoming election next year’s January instead September.
Amaju Pinnick and his board were reelected for a second term in office on September 20, 2018 in Katsina and his tenure is meant to elapse next month.
However, sources revealed that the letter was already sent to FIFA before the NFF topshots informed the board members in an online platform of the federation.
The plan is to read the FIFA response at the AGA expected to take place this week in Bayelsa State.
The source added that the members were irked that a few people on the board took such a decision without informing others from the beginning and they are hoping to use the response to extend their tenure at the Annual General Assembly scheduled for Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
“It is indeed a taboo. Rather than get the consent of the board members and the Congress before sending the letter to FIFA, the letter was sent.
“There is no doubt, a few people at the top echelon of the current board want to remain in office beyond the September date,” our source revealed.
“There is a tentative date of August 16 for the AGA in Bayelsa and another date of September 21 for the elective Congress in a yet to be decided venue but it is clear the current board is reluctant to leave office.
“The majority of the board members are resolute to take out this current leadership for so many reasons especially because many of them were never informed about crucial decisive issues in the administration of the game,” a source told Tidesports source
Although Amaju Pinnick had stated time without number that he would not seek a new term in office, the former Delta State FA Chairman recently said that “influential people” are pushing him to contest for a 3rd term.

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Nigeria U-21 Volleyball Team Departs For Tunisia

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As the team departed for Tunisia at the weekend for the African U-21 Volleyball Championship Nations Cup, President of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Engineer Musa Nimrod, has said that the country is all out to gain from the outing to qualify for the World Championship.
He stated this while biding the team farewell at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Friday, adding that the target for the participation of Nigeria is to qualify for the world championship, stressing that, “We are also building them up for the All African Games next year and the next Olympics,” he said.
Also Speaking with Sports Writers, Coach Sani Mohammed Musa of the male U-21 men, said that the team are African champions and have featured in World Championship twice.
He said that bearing in mind that the North Africans would be battle ready for Nigeria, they will leave no stone unturned to ensuring they achieved their objectives.

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Female Footballers, Officials Abducted In Edo

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Six people, which include players and officials of a grassroots female team, have been reportedly kidnapped by gunmen in Uronigbe, a border community between Edo and Delta states in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
Tidesports learnt that the six victims were kidnapped around 6pm on Friday, while returning from a game at Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State.
A source in the community said the kidnappers had contacted some families demanding a ransom of N5million each for the victims.
He said, “They (footballers) went to Owa-Alero to play a football match, but on their way back, they were kidnapped at Uronigbe area, the boundary between Delta and Edo States.
“The victims include Mrs Precious Agbajor, one Abraham, Nancy, Beatrice, the driver and one other person. They are six in number that are in the kidnapper’s den.
Tidesports learned that the matter has been reported at the Uronigbe police station.
“The kidnappers have contacted the family of Agbajor and asked them to pay N5million for his wife.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Delta State, DSP Bright Edafe, confirmed the kidnap, adding that the incident happened in Edo State.
His Edo State counterpart, Chidi Nwabuzor, said from the records available at the State Command, there was no information on the incident.
“You know we transmit our records to Force Headquarters everyday. There is no such record before us. From the Command’s record, no such incident happened on Friday, so the police will not give account of anything unreported.
“It is only when an incident is reported that the police can act on it. In most cases, citizens are not aware of the powers to report incidents. So the record I have from the Command is that no such incident happened  on Friday, Saturday and even on Thursday.”

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