The President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Mr. Tijjani Umar left the country for Zurich, Switzerland last Saturday in pursuit of a wild ticket entry for Nigeria in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. The World Cup for men will hold in Czech Republic by next August.

Umar explained just before he boarded the flight to Zurich from Abuja that the meeting was part of the on going discussion which began with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) hierarchy after the African Nations Cup in Tripoli tagged Libya 2009. The Nigerian national team the Tigers finished fifth place at the championship and thus could not pick a straight ticket to the world event.

Only the top three teams from Africa qualified automatically for the world championship. But as a fill up measure for the remaining four slots for Czech 2010, FIBA is handing wild cards to four teams across the world with potentials to make some impact at the world stage. ““We have been talking since the situation became clear in Libya. They have reached out to us accordingly and this meeting is to further hold talks in detail and exchange notes on the issue of wild card for the championship,” Umar explained.

Nigerians were confident, based on the assurances of the Tigers managers, for a direct ticket to the World Championship but had to open up prayers for an indirect route to the European city after De Tigers surprisingly fell to Cameroon at the quarter final stage in Tripoli. Russia, a former world champion who could not qualify from the Euro qualifiers is strongly viewed as the number one candidate for the wild card entries. And just before his departure, Umar spoke  the detail after dealing with all protest issues.”” The play off is expected to hold as from the end of October of or early November. The next season is billed to start by the end of November.  Meanwhile, the final stage of the 2009 Zenith Bank female basketball League will begin in Lagos this week..

According to details officially made available by the NBBF, October 15th is fixed as the arrival date for teams while the jump ball will be taken the following day. The competition in Lagos will be the final phsaee of the league after the first and second stages held in Kaduna and Asaba respectively.

F irst Bank are topping the table with Deepwater as the second placed team in the table.


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