NBBF crisis retarding the growth of Nigerian basketball

basketball-bilder.posterMonday was supposed to be one of the biggest days in Nigeria’s march to the summit of African basketball. All the ingredients were there at the Boat Club, Ikoyi, Lagos, venue of the gathering of basketball stakeholders, including officials of United States’ NBA.

Among those at the gathering was the NBA Vice President, Amadou Gallo-Fall, who left his cozy offices in Johannesburg, South Africa, to be part of the move to take the game to a higher level in Nigeria.

There were also such retired international stars as Mfon Udoka, Matabene Amachree, and Julius Nwosu, among others, as well as club administrators, sports marketers and journalists, all of who came together to look at ways of increasing Nigeria’s presence in the biggest basketball league in the world, the NBA, and more importantly, growing the game such that the country would attract as much attention as the best leagues in the world.

Sadly, however, there was no official of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) at the event organised in line with the NBA’s quest to make Nigeria a major hub in the development of the game.

Organisers of the event, the Dan Ngerem Foundation, revealed that the NBBF was officially invited to play a leading role in the parley, but the federation did not bother to attend the event.

Lamenting the absence of NBBF officials at the parley, Dan Ngerem Foundation President, Dan Ngerem, said, “Nigeria would only start getting it right when people begin to look beyond personal interests. Everybody, who believes in the growth of basketball in this country should close ranks, forget personal interests and work for the common good.”

The Guardian recalls that since the last federation elections that returned Tijjani Umar as the president of the NBBF. After the elections, some dissatisfied stakeholders went to court to challenge the exercise and since then, the basketball family has not been working together.

Ngerem, who is the current chairman of the Dodan Warriors Basketball of Lagos,
believes that with “a population in excess of 170 million people, with youths accounting for upward 60 per cent of the population, Nigeria needs to think and plan for them to avoid human catastrophe in future.

“What the NBA is doing across the world, including Africa, is to bring the commercial interest into the game, which I think Nigeria should copy. I see this as a way of bringing Nigeria into the billion-dollar franchise.

“This is a year when a Nigerian, Andre Iguodalo, was voted the MVP at the NBA final, while another Nigerian, Festus Ezeli ensured that the biggest name in world basketball, Lebron James, did not do anything in that same game.

“Now, how do we leverage on this if the leaders of the game do not identify with events like the one we held here today?”

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