By John Essien
Barely one month after winning the Afro Basketball title for the third time in a row, Nigeria’s D’Tigress have decried the poor treatment and gross negligence from the outgoing board of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
The African women champions expressed their frustrations in a video, as they went on to outline the unfairness meted out on them by the Musa Kida-led administration.
The players also threatened to boycott the 2022 FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament over the refusal of the Federation and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to meet their demands.
Victoria Macaulay, a member of the D’Tigress wondered why their historic feat of winning three straight African titles has not handed them an invitation to Aso Rock even if it is only for the ceremonial Presidential handshake.
“First we want to thank the Nigerian Embassy in Cameroon for celebrating us. We appreciate you more than you know. Other than that, we do not feel appreciated or celebrated after achieving a historical feat. In 2017 we won the Afrobasketball championship and three days later we presented it to the father of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari and his entire Cabinet led the former Minister of Sports, Hon Solomon Dalung as customary with handshake. We have defended our championship and brought back the Cup in 2019 and 2021. It is historical but no invitation has been extended to the team to visit Aso Rock or a Presidential handshake, Why?” they claimed.
Also, another member of the team, Promise Amukamara, faulted the claims by the Kida-led NBBF that the team is not being owed any money.
She said “President of NBBF, Musa Kida said that the Federation is not owing any players or officials allowances. This is far from the truth. The last time we checked, our allowances, bonuses, training grants and donations made by banks to players and officials and volunteers still have not been paid.”
On her part, Ezinne Kalu felt D’Tigress have been marginalized and that all their demands have been left unattended to ever since their former Team Manager resigned under cloudy circumstances.
“Ever since our general manager and team manager resigned, we feel like we have been marginalised. I have not seen a leadership like the former president, This one never really showed up for camps or competitions, to boost our morale. And we have significant concerns and issues that needs to be addressed, which he always give vague answers as if our concerns are not important to him. Musa Kida was not in Cameroon but somehow he showed up in Abuja to take pictures and to raise the trophy again for political gain,” she lamented.
Ify Ibekwe who shone brilliantly at the Olympics and also at the recently held FIBA Afrobasket Championship in Cameroon where D’Tigress were victorious, opened up on the debt the players, officials and volunteers are owed.
“We are being owed USD 73,180 by the NBBF, USD 24,000 by the Ministry of Sports for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics grant and USD100,000 from donations from three banks in Nigeria,” Ibekwe stated.