By Bayo Olawunmi
The President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Mr Musa Kida, has lamented the ”legal encumbrances” that had held back a robust National Premier League for men in the country.
A statement on Tuesday, made available by Afolabi Oni, Board Member (NBBF) on Media, quoted Kida as saying that for the past three years the federation had been at the centre of a legal tussle.
The President said that a country with huge potentials in basketball like Nigeria should have a highly competitive men’s basketball league that would afford players, coaches and officials a chance to develop their skills.
According to him, having acquired a N150 million sponsorship deal from Total Nigeria for the leagues in Divisions One and Two, “organising a robust premier league will never have been a problem but for the legal encumbrances”.
“They handcuffed us and slapped us and we cannot cry. We are legally stopped from having that league. The sad part of this is that the Kwese League Management Board, under Olamide Oyedeji, and Gombe Bulls, took us to court to stop us from running a league.
“These are people who, over the years claim to have the interest of developing Nigeria’s home grown basketball at heart,” Kida said .
Kida said pledging their love and promotion of basketball, while stopping thousands of stakeholders from playing basketball at the highest level was hard to reconcile, as the action has stopped clubs from playing and players from earning a living.
“To (also) stop coaches from improving themselves and stop many clubs from continental and global representation all in the name of politics, it does not add up,” Kida said.
In our quest to ensure that basketball players in the premier league get engaged, Kida said, “I, as President, decided to have a champion for Nigeria.
“I had proposed continental participation without a sponsor and went ahead to organise what we called President Cup for all the clubs that were in the premier league. This would give them a chance to play, while we try to vacate the injunction in court
“We organised the President’s Cup, some clubs did not come but most of them participated, and I was personally cited for contempt”, after these same people who took us to court in the first instance, made a submission to the court that we were trying to circumvent the injunction by doing a President’s Cup.
Kida also said that he believed Nigeria should have a lot of championships, which should never stop the Premier Basketball from going on. (NAN)