By Ben Efe
Nigeria’s longest serving basketball player, Olumide Oyedeji shockingly announced his withdrawal from the national team, the D’Tigers currently preparing for the Rio Olympics yesterday, citing personal and family reasons for his decision.
The former NBA star and much travelled Nigerian basketball player who is currently with the London Lions expressed delight to be part of the D’Tigers, most especially when the team qualified for the Olympics the first time in 2012.
“One of the most exciting memories of being a part of the Nigeria national team is qualifying for the London Olympics – the first time ever for the male basketball team, it still feels surreal. It is also a privilege to have led the team to win its first ever Afrobasket Championship and qualifying for the Rio Summer Olympics.
“It is thus paramount at this time that the Olympics Team be led by someone other than me. I have no doubt that those representing D’Tigers’ contingent have what it takes to fly the flag of Africa and Nigeria high in Rio, as I will be one of their biggest fans,”he said.
Meanwhile the Nigeria Basketball Federation has said it respects Oyedeji’s decision not be be part of the Rio 2016 Olympics campaign and commended him for his dedication and sacrifice for Nigerian and world basketball.
“The NBBF is fully in the picture of Olumide Oyedeji’s decision to withdraw from the team preparing for the Rio Olympics.
“His decision due to personal and family reasons will be respected. Meanwhile, we commend him for his dedication and sacrifice for Nigerian and world basketball both as a player,member of the federation and Fiba players commission,” said a statement made available by the federation.