Nigeria president withdraws national basketball team from international competitions for 2 years

2022-05-13 15:00
Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Nigeria’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will not take part in international competition for two years, the nation’s president said, jeopardizing chances of qualifying teams for the 2024 Olympics.

President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria's national basketball teams are immediately withdrawing from international competitions.

"Following the unending crises that have plagued and nearly crippled Basketball development in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has today approved the immediate withdrawal of Nigeria from all International Basketball Competitions for a period of two years," says a statement from the federal ministry of youth and sports development.

The Nigeria Basketball Federation reportedly faced possible suspension last November over leadership and election issues in recent years.

The Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare who made the statement in his Office in Abuja, disclosed that the withdrawal of Nigeria was to provide Government with the opportunity to revamp the sport from the grassroots as well as revive the domestic leagues which have become moribund.

FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, and the Nigeria Basketball Federation have not responded to requests for comment on how it affects Olympic qualification.

If Nigeria sits out the entire two years, it will be ineligible for the Olympics under the recently published qualification timeline.

Nations bidding for Olympic qualification, other than host France, must take part in the FIBA World Cups in 2022 (women) and 2023 (men) and/or the first of two rounds of Olympic qualifying tournaments in 2023.

The 2023 FIBA World Cup will be the first such competition to be hosted by multiple nations: the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. The prestigious contest will take place from August 25 to September 10.

The same kind of situation happened in the summer of 2019 when Team Nigeria almost didn't make it to China for the FIBA World Cup, because the money for the flights allegedly wasn't released until the last possible moment.

Team Nigeria gathered quite a lot of hype before the last major basketball competition, Tokyo Olympics when they stunned the USA in the Olympic exhibition game.

Nigeria had a roster of mostly NBA players, including Jahlil Okafor, Gabe Vincent, Ekpe Udoh, Precious Achiuwa, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu, KZ Okpala, Miye Oni. Long-time NBA specialist Mike Brown was coaching the team.

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