Following the decision by the Federal Government to reverse the two-year international ban placed on basketball, stakeholders have hailed the development while expressing concern over the inability to address the main issues affecting the sports in the country.
In a statement released last week and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, the decision to reverse the ban was based on the appeal from concerned stakeholders, former Nigerian international basketball players and well-meaning Nigerians.
Abubakar stated that the decision was also based on the fruitful meeting between FIBA and Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare which he said produced common understanding in certain general areas with a commitment from the world basketball ruling body to explore and collaborate on enhancing relationships.
In addition, the apology letter from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) board singed by Musa Kida to the President and Minister over the embarrassment with a pledge to set up a team to reconcile all contending parties in the basketball family within and outside the country necessitated the reversal.
Gbadegesin Olatona, who is the coordinator of the Youth Alive Basketball Community League, believed the decision by the government is necessary to save the future of the athletes.
“I am happy that the ban has been reversed especially considering the career of most of the players both within and outside Nigeria,” he said.” This is good for them to see the need for them to aim to represent Nigeria in international competitions.
“However, the issues that prompted the ban are yet to be addressed especially in terms of the structure of the sport.”
grow the sport at home and this is why there are still struggles in football.
“ But I believe we should have taken a cue from this and allowed the sport to go beyond any individual with proper structure in place for the sport to stand on its own,” he added.
Similarly, Abimbola Faniran, who is the founder of the Akofa Foundation , supported Olatona while calling for the abnormality in the NBBF Constitution to be addressed.
He offered: “I am happy with the reversal but it is yet Uhuru for the sport as the contending issues that caused the ban is still not yet addressed.
“Particularly the abnormality in the NBBF Constitution which stated that the President and Vice President can be chosen by a few people.
“So these issues must not be swept under the carpet while all stakeholders in the sport must be assembled to forger way forward for the sport,” Faniran noted.
Nigeria, Zambia Join WAFCON Train
Nine-time Women’s Africa Cup of Nations winners, Nigeria became the final side to book their place at the 2024 tournament as qualifiers culminated this week.
The Super Falcons came from behind to beat Cape Verde 2-1 away from home, with Rasheedat Ajibade’s injury-time winner clinching a 7-1 aggregate victory on Tuesday.
Barbra Banda was among Zambia’s scorers as the Copper Queens, who finished third at last year’s Nations Cup, thrashed Angola 6-0 at home to complete a 12-0 aggregate win.
However, two-time champions Equatorial Guinea will miss out on the 12-team finals following a 2-1 defeat away against DR Congo which saw the hosts progress 3-2 overall.
Botswana beat Kenya 1-0 to secure qualification for their second consecutive finals. while Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia all sealed their places in Morocco, who will host for the second time in a row.
The dates for the tournament, scheduled for next year, are yet to be announced.
Holders South Africa and Algeria secured their spots on Monday, with Banyana Banyana beating Burkina Faso 3-1 on aggregate and the North Africans sealing a 1-0 win in Burundi to progress 6-1 over the two legs.
Ghana will return to the finals for the first time since 2018 despite losing 1-0 away against Namibia, with the Black Queens going through 3-2 on aggregate.
Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia also failed to win their away ties, but progressed against Egypt, Togo and Congo respectively.
Mali won 3-0 away against Guinea to round off a 10-2 victory overall.
Olowu Targets WABU Crown At GOtv Boxing Night 30
Super welterweight boxer, Taiwo ‘Gentle Boy’ Olowu, on Wednesday , said his target is to claim the West African Boxing Union (WABU) super welterweight title at GOtv Boxing Night 30 on December 26.
The enterprising boxer, who is the national welterweight title holder, will square up to top Ghanaian boxer, Michael Ansah, at the event slated for the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
Speaking ahead of the fight, ‘Gentle Boy’ boasted that he would ensure the Ghanaian returned to his country empty-handed.
“I aim to add this West African Boxing Union title to my national title. As a national champion, I cannot allow a foreigner to come and take this belt away in front of my fans. This is a big opportunity for me to be a WABU champion. Ansah will leave Nigeria empty-handed,” he said.
The more experienced Ghanaian boxer has a record of 23 wins, 12 defeats, and three draws from 38 professional fights, while ‘Gentle Boy’ boasts 15 wins and one defeat from his 16 professional fights.
In another title fight, Sifon ‘Best’ Iwatt will battle Saheed Azeez for the national super flyweight title.
Also on the card for the night are five other national fights, including a female national cruiserweight challenge fight between national champion, Bolatito ‘Black Tito’ Oluwole and Blessing Abisoye.
Arabambi Ojo and Ibrahim ‘Golden Boy’ Opeyemi will slug it out in a national bantamweight challenge bout; Abdulafeez ‘Big Name’ Osoba will face Christopher Ucheji in a national super welterweight challenge fight, while Ayanfe Adeoye and Ahmed Ganiyu will duel in a national light welterweight category.
Nigeria Makes Final Team Of The Year Award
Nigeria made the final three shortlists for the 2023 Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Women’s National Team of the Year award.
CAF announced the final three shortlist on their X handle yesterday.
The other two countries are reigning Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions South Africa and Morocco.
Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa featured at this year’s FIFA women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The trio all reached the round of 16 at the tournament, which was won by Spain.
The winner will be announced on Monday, December 11, in Marrakech, Morocco.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Super Falcons recently qualified for the 2024 WAFCON, hosted by Morocco.
A 7-1 aggregate win against Cape Verde ensured the Falcons will be making their 13th appearance at the tournament, which began in 1998 in Nigeria.
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