Nigerian basketball players have urged the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, to resolve the lingering leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF.
The players, who stormed the office of the sports minister on Tuesday to register their displeasure, frowned at his posture in handling the leadership impasse rocking the federation.
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Speaking to journalists, a former NBA player and board member under the Musa Kida-led board, Mr Ejike Ugboaja, urged the minister to be bold and address the issue without sentiment.
“The two elections were concluded two weeks ago, and we don’t know the stand of the minister.
“I served under the Musa Kida’s board and I have played the game for more than twelve years, we have never experienced this type of problem before.
“I think by today, we ought to have our President and not the ministry running the show.
“We want the minister to come out and tell us what is going on, we want him to address us, we want the minister as the father of the game to tell us his position. Without the players, there is no basketball,” Ugboaja stated.
Similarly, the present Players’ Representative in the board of the NBBF, Mr Stanely Gumut, said that basketball players home and abroad have thrown their weight behind Mr Igoche Mark, insisting that the players have vowed not to repeat the mistake made four years ago.
“We don’t want to repeat the mistake we made four years ago; wasted time is what we don’t want to repeat again, all our fight is about players’ welfare.
“The truth of the matter is that we the players have thrown our weight behind Mr Igoche Mark.
“Unfortunately, the ministry is not saying anything about it. We the players are the pioneers of this game and we don’t want to play free basketball anymore.
“The minister is supposed to come out and talk to us as a father but the man has been shying away from talking to us and his action becoming worrisome to us,” Gumut stated.
The players have vowed to resist every attempt to impose Kida as the NBBF President.
They described the previous NBBF board under Kida as a sham and a global disgrace to basketball administration.
The players have made several efforts to make the authorities resolve the crisis before January’s parallel elective congresses that produced two presidents – Igoche Mark and Musa Kida.
However, the government is yet to recognise any of the groups and has instead been piloting the affairs of the federation since.