The Nigerian national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, would soon begin camping in Atlanta, U.S as part of preparations for the FIBA Women’s World Cup, according to the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
President of the federation, Musa Kida, disclosed this while addressing journalists at the 2018 NBBF Stakeholders Meeting held on Friday in Abuja.
According to Kida, preparations for the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup is very advanced.
“It is very advanced to the extent of the fact that we’ve been able to organise and secure where they are going to camp, which is going to be in Atlanta in the U.S.
“We already have an arena where they are going to be practising for the duration of the camping.
“We have also invited all available and eligible players all over the world, including in Nigeria.
“Very soon they will report to Atlanta where their coach, Sam Vincent, will be present to receive then and make his choice in terms of selection,” Kida said.
Before the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket tournament, the NBBF was criticised for failing to secure the participation of some top foreign-based players.
When asked if such could occur again as the D’Tigress prepare for the FIBA Women’s World Cup coming up in September, Kida said the 2017 incidence was a learning curve.
“It is our wish as a federation and the wish of Nigerians that their best players identify with them and wear the national jersey to represent the country.
“What happened to the men’s team when we couldn’t secure the participation of some top players was a question of availability.
“Many of the top players were engaged in their club activities and could not be released.
“However, we have learnt some hard lessons and we are now proactively engaging with players’ clubs and the outfits they work with professionally,” he disclosed.
Kida also enumerated the achievements of his NBBF board since he came to office to include the victory of D’Tigress at the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket tournament which the women’s national team won in Mali.
He said it was the victory that earned the team a place at the 2018 FIBA World Cup taking place in Spain.
According to him, despite the distractions and unpleasant noise around, we have been able to record some modest achievements.
“The male team also reached the final of the men’s tournament.
“Very recently, we secured a two-year sponsorship for our Divisions 1 and Division 2 men’s league.
“This is the first time in the history of Nigerian basketball that the NBBF is having a sponsor for any lower-tier basketball league.
“We hope to consolidate on these modest achievements as we go about contributing to national development through the development of basketball.
“To do this, we must come together in truth and discard the rift of the past,” Kida said.(NAN)