‘NSC is killing Nigerian sports’
THE President of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Tijani Umar has threatened to quit over what he termed as frustration occasioned by the underfunding of basketball in Nigeria. He spoke Thursday during the Africare award ceremony for coaches and schools that excelled at the last edition of its talent hunt basketball Power Forward program in Abuja.
Umar regretted his return as NBBF President, saying that the National Sports Commission (NSC) had continued to frustrate efforts of the board to move basketball to a higher level in the country. He alleged that the NBBF had been struggling to put the national teams in camp for competitions and championships.
The NBBF president labeled officials of the NSC as ‘killers’ of sports in the country rather that developing it. He also accused the Sports Ministry of working at crossroad with the NBBF by deliberately staving basketball of funds.
Umar, who disclosed that his federation had not received any allocation from the NSC since 2013, stressed that things have degenerated to the extent that the NBBF could not afford to call players to camp for the Afro-basketball and All Africa Games 2015 qualifiers. He said he was not sure Nigeria would participate.
Umar regretted that all the attention of the NSC had been focused on football, which he noted has brought more shame to Nigeria in the recent past with crisis and failure to qualify for AFCON 2015 despite the huge amount of money it got from government.
“I wish I was never the NBBF president,” he said. “I am really angry to see the national team struggling to go for tournaments. Things are so bad that I am considering quitting. I have been the NBBF president since 2009, but I wish I were never the President of the federation because it seems we are not ready to move forward.
“I am really bitter that the Nigeria national team is struggling to go tournaments. We can’t be struggling. Nobody wants to believe we don’t have money. In 2013, 2014 and this year, our federation got no single penny from government and this is frustrating,” Umar said.
Speaking further, the NBBF boss said: “With the way they run sports in the country, I am sure no private sector will want to invest in it today. Every public office has the obligation to do what the people want and if you cannot do it, then you have failed the people. All our efforts have been frustrated because they only focus all the resources on football, but look at the shame football has brought to this country,” an angry Umar added.
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