After missing World Cup, Olympics, lack of funds denies D’Tigers Afrobasket qualifiers participation

THE Nigeria senior male basketball team, D’Tigers, has suffered another major setback after being financially incapacitated to participate in the first window of 2025 FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers that dunk off Friday, February 23, in Tunisia. 

The country’s inability to participate in the qualifiers would add to the woes after failing to qualify for the World Cup and Olympics in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Despite the country’s senior women’s basketball team, D’Tigress recently winning the ticket to represent the continent at the 2024 Paris Olympics in Belgium, The ICIR learnt that the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, is grappling with paucity of funds.


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Confirming the withdrawal of the D’Tigers, NBBF, in a statement released on Wednesday, February 21, blamed the sports ministry for not providing the needed funds for the qualifiers.

“In recent times, the female and male national basketball teams have not had the best in preparations for major continental and global championships due to the perennial lack of funds,” the statement reads.

The federation claimed that its president, Musa Kida, has shouldered financial responsibility to fund the national teams to feature in tournaments, saying that he is yet to be refunded.

“While Kida, who is yet to be refunded the billions of naira, he has spent the participation of the various national teams is unable to raise more funds for the latest national assignment, the ministry of sports have not been able to come up with needed funds, citing lack of adequate funds to prosecute several other national engagements, including the forthcoming All Africa Games holding in Accra, Ghana in March,” the statement reads.

The federation appealed to basketball enthusiasts in the country and diaspora to understand the dire situation it found itself in view of the economic challenges faced by the country.

Fans react to D’Tigers withdrawal

A basketball journalist, Kehinde Bamidele, described the D’Tigers withdrawal as ‘shameful’, opining that there seem to be unhealthy relationships between the federation and sports ministry.

“The NBBF should be blamed largely; there is a breakdown between the communications with federation and ministry, that is the reason why the only way the federation communicates to the ministry is by putting something online like lack of funds, all of that.




     

     

    “Looking at all other federations, you look at handball and volleyball; they are not struggling like basketball, so why basketball?,” he lamented.

    Also, an ace sports journalist, Godwin Enekhena in a tweet via his ‘X’ account @genekhena wrote about the complexity of sports administration in Nigeria.

    “I talked about the complexity of sport’s administration in Nigeria and my last line was that it’s not difficult to decode my post with an open mind.

    “Our male basketball team won’t be at the Olympics because the government has not released money for the qualifiers. Is it clear now?” he wrote.

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