Sunday, June 23, 2024

Nigerian basketball badly damaged, in need of time to recover – Bakare – Premium Times


Former national coach Ayo Bakare says the leadership crisis that rocked the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) between 2017 and 2022 has really hindered the sport’s development in the country.
The head coach of Ebun Comets of Lagos told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Sunday that what went on could be likened to a civil war.
“The fight took a lot of casualties. But, of course, a war between brothers is always one of attrition. I understand the damage this has done.
”We can’t get sponsorships easily because the whole environment has been polluted,” he said.
Bakare, however, pointed out that what was presently going on in basketball was not the best that could be done.
“We can’t have abridged league competitions for four straight years. You can’t always have a two- to three-week tournament as the pinnacle of your Premier League.
“The league can’t be relegated to a three-week competition every year, and all put into a short space, with no notice or little notice to teams expected to participate,” he said.
Bakare noted that clubs that qualified for the just-ended four zonal playoffs in the ongoing league’s two conferences do not have an idea of the venue(s) of the competition’s next phase.
“This is rather unfortunate because the league’s next phase is just around the corner and the participating clubs only have a five-day break.
“So, they can’t plan because they don’t have an idea. This is not good for the quality of the competition and those following it too,” the former D’Tigers coach said.
He disclosed that Ebun Comets have already taken a decision on cutting costs in view of the situation.
“Unless the next phase is favourable, we’ve taken a decision that only six players will go to represent us and we are not really planning to go and compete because we don’t have money.
“We don’t know if it’s going to be a friendly area where we can afford to raise money in five days.
”The situation is worse for many of the teams here,” Bakare added.
He, however, advised that the NBBF could do a lot more.
”It’s a bad situation for them already, but it can be a lot better.
“I have interactions with one or two top people in the Federation, and I try to use that to advise on things to be done.

“I can’t pretend, however, that there’s a reaction or consistency to the advice given,” the coach said.
Bakare, who was a former Technical Director of the NBBF, pointed out that Nigerian players needed more local competitions, although money was needed to get this done.
“Money won’t be gotten easily for basketball because it’s damaged goods, and it’s not about the present administration.
”But it fought a civil war, and we can’t blame those at the helm of affairs for this because it brought about a catastrophe.
“No one now wants to sponsor the sport. NBBF is the only federation where all past presidents are alleged to be thieves and accused of having private accounts.
“Either true or false, all these ‘rumours’ chase away sponsorship.
“There are several experts out there writing opinions and criticising the board members, past and present, and this has damaged the federation,” he said.
In proposing a solution, Bakare said it was necessary that the Nigerian basketball league persevere for some time.
“First, we have to go back and play without sponsorships and convince sponsors that we are now sober and ready to progress without the rancour we are well known for.
“Without money coming in, there’s no way we can attract more teams.
“I can say that all of us (clubs) here at the Ibadan zonal playoffs of the Atlantic Conference, except two teams I won’t mention, borrowed money to come here for the competition.

“You can’t expand a league when even the people in it can’t conveniently pay for their meals and accommodations.
“Then, what do you need more teams for in the league?” he said.

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