Musa Kida addressing Players
The Nigerian Basketball Federation has sympathized with players and Technical crew of Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club following the decision of the Rivers State government stopping them from traveling to Kano to take part in the Final 8 playoffs.
President of the federation, Engineer Musa Kida said despite the decision of the NBBF and Rivers State Governments perceived to be harsh, it was the right thing to do in the long term interest of the players.

Reacting on Wednesday to media reports credited to some players of the Rivers Hoopers Basketball club blaming Kida for the recent action by their state government, Kida said, “The precarious situation these players have found themselves is really regrettable but we are determined to always protect their interest no matter the cost.

“Whatever pronouncement we made which was strictly followed by the Rivers State Government is in the overall interest of the game.”

The federation advised aggrieved persons to redirect their grievances to the right channel rather than blaming the federation for their inability to participate in the illegal final 8 competition going on in Kano.

The Rivers state basketball chairman distanced himself from the recent decision of the Rivers State government not to sponsor the state owned team as he described the NBBF decision as a collective resolution of all the board members.

“Yes, we said no club should participate in the competition which the former federation is still running despite the recognition of our board by FIBA, but it was purely the decision of the state government who decided it was best for its team to steer clear of unnecessary controversies after carefully studying the situation surrounding the organization of the league.”

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However, the NBBF Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade says the present board has been treading cautiously in the interest of players in the face of calculated provocations by former NBBF board led by Tijani Umar.

“For the records, we had to bend backwards to allow the former board to conclude the Women's league which was at the final stage. When the Federal Government did not release the Indoor Sports hall in Lagos to them, we had to write a signed undertaking on their behalf before the game could go on.”

According to the former Nigerian international, the final 8 was introduced to produce the national champion and pick the 2 representatives that will fly the country’s flag at the FIBA Club Championship.

“So, in a case where our board will still be recognized till November 30 during which the zonal eliminations will be played, what will clubs competing in the final 8 organised by an illegal group stand to gain when they won’t be recognized by FIBA at the continental championship?”

For him, “This illegality has gone on for so long and at a certain stage, our board as recognized by FIBA and backed by Nigeria Olympic Committee and the Federal Government must take control of all basketball programmes on the stable of NBBF.

“What are they hiding? What do they stand to lose if they hand over and why are they desperate to forfeit the national teams and hold on to the league?” Ogunade queried.

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