The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development claims it has a responsibility to approach the Federal Government to have Nigeria’s withdrawal from international basketball reconsidered, but only if the situation of the game improves and stakeholders come together.
It will be recalled the Federal Government declared on Wednesday that Nigeria would withdraw from international basketball for two years, promising to work diligently to bring the sport back to prominence.
“Following the unending crisis which has 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,” Dare said through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ismaila Abubakar.
The minister added that the withdrawal of Nigeria is in order to concentrate efforts by the government towards revamping the sport from the grassroots as well as domestic leagues which have become moribund.
“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,” he said.
The decision was based on a number of major problems, including leadership instability, player dissatisfaction, and the local league’s stagnancy.
A source said, “We have tried in several ways to solve this crisis in the fight for administration in the interest of all parties and players but we discovered that the more we tried, the lower we sunk. There were disruptive protests, we didn’t have a league, players were suffering, something drastic needed to be done.”
In a bid to kickstart the restoration process, the Ministry said an Interim Management Committee will be set up to pilot affairs for a period.
In a related development, the Sports Ministry has rolled out plans for it to begin its grassroots development programmes with a zonal secondary championship in June, across all the geo-political zones of the country leading to a national championships in Lagos or Abuja.