Unless wise counsel prevails, the crisis dogging Nigerian basketball could go a notch higher following a fresh dispute over who should control competitions in the game’s calendar.
Yesterday, the Musa Kida-led Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) threatened to sanction players, officials and clubs that participate in the Kwese League, which the Tijjani Umar faction of the board is currently controlling.
According to a release by the Umar’s faction of the NBBF, the Kwese Premier League would start in both conferences on Sunday, with Kano Pillars taking on Civil Defence of Abuja in Kaduna.
The release went on to list the rules governing the league, which would be televised live on Kwese channels.
But the Kida faction would have none of that. The federation is a statement yesterday warned clubs they were at the risk of losing their positions in the Premier Basketball League and any other NBBF organized competition if they participated in the tournament scheduled to start on May 6.
NBBF Secretary, Asiegbu Chimezie said this pronouncement became necessary to avoid what happened last season where clubs said they were not officially informed to stay away from tournaments not sanctioned by the NBBF.
“The Federation of International Basketball Associations has made its position known regarding basketball issues in Nigeria. It is clear who is in charge of basketball affairs in the country until such time that a new constitution will be drafted which will usher in the elections,” he said.
Asiegbu said as the only body recognised by FIBA, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee, “the NBBF board under Kida is the only body authorised to organise the country’s National Premier Competition from where the Champions and the Runners Up will be selected to represent Nigeria in any international Club Competition.”
He added that those sympathetic to the group led by the former Umar may argue that the federation was not under any elected board at the moment, but, according to him, there are individuals currently saddled with running its affairs and corresponding with FIBA.
“The Kwese Premier League sponsorship agreement is with the NBBF and not with an individual. We do hope therefore that the Kwese/NBBF Sponsorship agreement is not being converted to sponsorship of a competition that is not under the purview of the NBBF or plans to that effect,” he said.