The caretaker committee chairperson of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Musa Kida, has revealed that Nigeria basketball teams, D’Tigers and D’Tigress failed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the absence of key technical crew.
Kida in a chat with journalists said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) gave a directive to reduce the technical crew from eight officials to just three.
It will be recalled that D’Tigers and D’Tigress were both eliminated in the group stage of the Olympics despite that the D’Tigers beat highly rated US and Argentine teams in pre-Olympic games.
“We were always entitled to a full complement of our officials in the Games, but after our preparations, and getting to the Olympic proper, the NOC came with the directive that we are only entitled to only three officials, which included only two technical officials.
“I was very sad to understand that they are only going to allow three of our technical officials, instead of the eight or nine, which we are already used to. This actually affected the team immensely and cost us the first two games,” he said.
He further said he was shocked when he saw other countries having the full complement of their technical crew but fell short of labelling the situation as conspiracy to weaken the national teams.
“We became more suspicious when the games began. We discovered other countries were carrying full complement of their coaches and officials, even countries that do not have as many athletes as we did.
“From there, the players became demoralised no doubt, as they could not have their coaches that could be giving them the needed technical talks. What NBBF did, though, was to make sure that everybody was on ground.
“That hurt us so badly, no doubt about it. We interrogated the Basketball governing body FIBA who actually claimed ignorance on why such an instruction came from the IOC at the Olympics. It was the same situation for the men and the women teams,” he said.
Mr Kida, however, said the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, had to step in to ensure a slight increase in the technical crew and boost the confidence in camp.
“Seeing the situation on ground, the minister rallied round to see that there was an increase in the number of our officials for the team.
“The minister really helped us all out by ensuring that we had an increase in the number of officials. By then, we had lost the first two matches at the Olympics.
“It was through the efforts of the minister that the camp was finalised without any issue. This was enough of a boost for us. We can’t thank him enough,” he added.