The Nigerian female basketball team, D’Tigress has rejected a two-year ban placed on basketball by the federal government, noting that the ban could not stand.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday, May 12, approved the immediate withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for a period of two years with immediate effect.
Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, disclosed the development while briefing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
Dare who was represented by Ismaila Abubakar, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said a committee would be set up to oversee basketball leagues in the country.
“Following the unending crisis which have plagued and nearly crippled the development of basketball in Nigeria, President Buhari has approved the withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for a period of two years. This is with immediate effect,” he had said.
“This will also allow for the setting up of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the management and development of the domestic basketball leagues in Nigeria.
However, reacting to the development in a statement via its twitter handle on Friday, the Nigerian team said the ban was unreasonable and could not stand.
“We, as the Women’s National Team of Nigeria would like to speak on the government’s recently placed two year ban on all Nigerian Basketball International competitions,” a statement said.
“The D’Tigress team would like to state that we do not agree with this ban. This ban is taking away all our future competitions, accomplishments and goals to elevate, inspire, and make Nigeria proud!”
The team said it is determined to participate in the upcoming female basketball world cup as it has prepared for the tournament and cannot back out at this point.
“We would like to be given the opportunity to play for our country that we passionately love to represent in this upcoming @FIBAWWC,” the state shared on the team’s verified twitter handle said.
“We have worked very hard to be 3x Afrobasket Champions, Olympians and now we are blessed with another opportunity to continue that representation for Nigeria.
“We want Nigerian Basketball to continue to grow and succeed on every level; from the local leagues, grassroots and even on the international stage!
“We believe that all levels of Nigerian basketball can excel with the proper attention, togetherness, and organization. Our team is a testament to how successful Nigerian Basketball can be and how we have been an inspiration to all Nigerian athletes across the globe.
“We wish to express our gratitude to all the coaches, medical staff, organizers, and fans. This ban not only penalizes us but you all as well. Your commitment and loyalty to our team will never go unnoticed.
“Our goal is to play and represent Nigeria proudly! We, as the Nigerian Women’s National Team plea for the reversal of the International Basketball ban for Nigeria. We hope to be heard! Thank you.”