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Players Rue Nigeria’s Basketball Withdrawal

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Nigerian basketballer, Upe Atosu, has described the decision to withdraw the country from international competition for two years as heart-wrenching.
The decision, announced by Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth and Sports and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, means Atosu and her team-mates will miss September’s Women’s World Cup in Australia.
As things stand, it also means the men’s team will not be able to take part in the ongoing African qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup, which are due to continue in July in Rwanda.
A letter from the ministry said the withdrawal was because of the unending drama that have plagued and nearly crippled basketball in the country.
“This will enable Nigeria to revamp the sports from the grassroots as well as domestic leagues which have become moribund,” the letter added.
The Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) is to be dissolved and an interim committee appointed to oversee the management of the game in the country.
“Sport is not [a] puzzle that you have to crush what’s working to fix what’s not working,” Atosu, who helped Nigeria win the 2017 African title, posted on Twitter.
“This isn’t the best route.”
She added on Facebook: “I have so much to say yet it breaks my heart to see Nigerian basketball in the mud. This game has been a blessing to many people, remember that our leaders.”
Tidesports source understands the decision was taken to avert an agreement by both Nigeria’s men’s and women’s teams to stage a protest at international tournaments.
Ministry officials are also disappointed that players have chosen to support one faction in the federation’s ongoing leadership crisis.
Under the rules of the sport’s world governing body, Fiba, interference by government into the running of national teams and the sport is strictly forbidden.
The stance by the government could lead to Fiba banning Nigeria from global basketball, which would mean their national sides, club teams and officials excluded from all international competitions and meetings.
A protracted leadership crisis has blighted the NBBF following a controversial election six years ago, leaving two parallel boards laying claim to the leadership of the federation.
The battle for control of Nigerian basketball has often hampered preparations for international competitions and crippled the country’s domestic leagues.
The issue has also affected the salary of Nigeria women head coach Otis Hughley, who led the team to qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Games, back-to-back African titles, as well as the 2022 World Cup qualification, including an historic win over France.
Players from D’Tigress have also been locked in a dispute with the NBBF and sports ministry over the non-payment of bonuses and organisational issues encountered during the Olympics in Japan.
Despite the seemingly endless issues blighting the sport several overseas-born players and a strong community of diaspora players based in the United States have been persuaded to play for Nigeria’s men’s and women’s teams.
This has led to success at the African Basketball Championships in recent years – with the men winning in 2015 and three straight triumphs for the women’s team in 2017, 2019 and 2021.

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LMC Explains 30Mins Added Time In Katsina Utd, Remo Stars Clash

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The League Management Company (LMC), custodians of the Nigerian Professional Football League (LMC), yesterday, explained that the referee in the Matchday 35 game between Katsina United and Remo Stars, at the weekend, was forced to add extra minutes to the game to make up for the time wasted when fans encroached on the pitch.
In a statement sent to Tidesports source, the LMC said it became necessary to correct the impression created by some social media accounts that have been spreading information that the match had over 30 minutes of added time.
It said: “The match was disrupted by players of Katsina United, who protested Remo Stars second equalising goal late in the game. In the process of the players contesting the referee’s decision, there was an encroachment on the field of play and it took some time before the encroachment was cleared and normalcy was restored.
“The goal stood and the match duly restarted to conclude the remaining added minutes. However, most of those commenting, including some sports journalists followed the match on online live game trackers such as Livescore, Betway, flashscore and it needs to be pointed out that these platforms hardly indicate that a game was inactive and most times leave their match clock active throughout the match.
“It is not possible for a referee to allow 30 minutes of added time in a 45 minutes half. We appeal to fans and the media to always verify the information they share, especially such that are detrimental to the health of the brand.”
The LMC recalled that on “MatchDay 33, there was a similar incident in the match between Lobi Stars and Heartland, which had several stoppages due to injuries and time wastage right from the first half. The game was not concluded on time and the same Internet websites/blogs reported the match as having 27minutes of added time, which was totally not correct but also created similar confusion.
“Furthermore, it must be emphasised for the general public to note that only the match official is in charge of the official timing of a match and not any online websites/blogs. The LMC is, therefore, awaiting the official match reports on the encroachment at Katsina, so as to take appropriate actions/sanctions on any party found to have erred pursuant to the stipulations of the NPFL framework and rules.”

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LOC Unveils NSF Logo, Mascot In Asaba

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The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 2022 National Sports Festival has unveiled the logo and mascot for the 21st National Sports Festival, NSF, scheduled to commence in November this year.
Speaking with journalists, Secretary of the LOC, Sir, Chris Anaziah said the logo and mascot would be unveiled in Asaba at the Government House Unity Hall with His Excellency,, the Executive Governor of Delta State, and the People’s Democratic Party’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as the chief host of the event.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare with other members of Main Organising Committee (MOC) headed by the Sports’ Ministry Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Isma’il Abubakar, will also be present that the unveiling ceremony.
The LOC had earlier through its Chairman and Secretary to the Delta State Government, (SSG) Chief Patrick Ukah, reiterated Delta’s commitment to the hosting of the 21st National Sports Festival as the best of the festival since its inception.
He had asserted that the Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival will be the best of its kind as it will be second to none since the inception of the games in the country since 1973.
He noted that Delta, as a major sporting state in the country, is committed to providing the best of facilities for citizens of the country and not just Deltans alone.
Delta 2022, will be the first time perennial champions, Delta State, will be hosting the “National Olympics”

 

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NPFL Can Become Best In Africa – Coach

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Super Eagles Coach, Jose Peseiro, is thrilled by the quality of talents in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), saying the league has the potential to become Africa’s best.
Speaking after watching a Matchday 35 game between Akwa United and Plateau United at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Peseiro described Nigeria as a country full of talented players, who have proven themselves at the highest level of football, while commending the organisers of the league and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for upholding high standard to discover and nurture football talents in the country.
The Portuguese said he enjoyed the quality of play by the teams, as well as the fans’ passion, promising to go round all the football venues next season to see the players and also know where he can contribute to the development of the league.
“This is my second time watching the NPFL game… first was in Kwara, now in Uyo and so far, I can say the quality of the league is high and the players are committed.
“The season is almost over, but from next season, I will go round all the football venues and watch the players and see how many we can bring into the national team. After the game, I interacted with the coaches, gave my assessment and also asked them how I can improve my team.”
He reiterated his promise that the Super Eagles are open to everyone, regardless of where they play.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has congratulated Rivers United for winning the 2021/22 NPFL.
Rivers United have officially been confirmed the champion of the 2021/2022 NPFL season following Plateau United’s 1-2 away loss to Akwa United last week.
A statement by Wike’s Special Assistant (Media), Kelvin Ebiri, said the governor commended the players and coaching staff of the club on Sunday, following the memorable victory, which ended their five-year title wait.
Wike attributed the achievement to the talented team’s determination, adding that it is most heartening that by virtue of the league win, the club will represent the country at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League next season.
He added that Rivers United’s triumph at the 2021/2022 NPFL has brought a wave of joy and happiness to the people of Rivers State and the country at large.
“I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to the coaching staff, particularly, the capable players of Rivers United for the valuable efforts they made to emerge the winner of the 2021/2022 NPFL.
“The government and good people of Rivers State are very proud of the team’s exploits following their dogged performances and resilience display throughout the 2021/2022 season. It is worthy to note that over the years, Rivers United has brought so much joy and happiness to football fans and supporters all over the country. This victory, no doubt, marks a major milestone in Rivers State football’s history.”

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