By Amaechi Agbo
Mark Mentors and Civil Defenders Basketball clubs of Abuja may represent Nigeria at the 2017 FIBA Africa Club Championship if Gombe Bulls and Kano Pillars Basketball clubs fail to respond to the queries issued by the federation.
In a communiqué released yesterday, the NBBF President Engr Musa Kida, said the board was aware of the debates for and against the federation’s position to replace Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls basketball clubs who had earlier reported the NBBF to the National Assembly and the FIBA Africa Secretary General, Alphonse Bille.
According to the NBBF president, any decision to be taken will definitely be in the interest of fairplay, respect for constituted authority and player’s motivation after some clubs defied the NBBF’s directives not to participate in the Conference 6 and National Final 8 organized by the former board.
“We have taken cognizance of the views by all parties to the discourse which has included phone calls, messages and advice from a large section of stakeholders at home and in the diaspora. Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls stand a very good chance of being picked as Nigeria’s continental representatives, but the decision will be dependent on whether they reply our query or not.
“In my last communiqué I reiterated the fact that whatever decision taken by the NBBF will take into consideration the best interest of Nigerian players, ensuring justice and fair play with the aim of moving Nigerian basketball forward,” Kida said
Meanwhile, the NBBF is expected to come up with sanctions on clubs after a final evaluation of the official responses to the queries sent to teams that defied the federation’s directives.
The board also commended Mark Mentors of and Defenders Basketball Club both of Abuja for obeying the directives of the NBBF.
“Rivers Hoopers attended the Final 6 but did not attend the Final 8 for which it had qualified. All the Clubs were asked to explain why they violated the NBBF’s directive not to participate, but only one Club (Rivers Hoopers) wrote to explain its position.”
The federation chided Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls for petitioning FIBA Africa without following the established protocol of passing through its National Federation and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
“In the case of Kano Pillars, the club took it far by reporting the matter to the National Assembly as widely reported in the media which is beyond the scope of sports interest. However, till date there has been no official statement from FIBA Africa and the National Assembly which is an indication that both protests lack merit.”
Despite the board’s assurance to protect players at all times, Kida said no club will be absolved for violating the directive of the NBBF with internal administrative sanctions expected to be handed down where necessary.
He appealed to all stakeholders to trust the new leadership of the NBBF as they continue to change the face of basketball in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Basketball family has gone through a lot within a short span but the outcome of the results have shown our commitment to the greater good of the game. We may have disagreements, but this is not unhealthy as long as it ends in an understanding of the issues at hand with a resolution to move forward to a period of greater responsibility and progress.”