Sport

AfroBasket: Minister pledges more support for basketball

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, on has turned the heat on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) saying football in the country is going backward.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has hailed the D’Tigress, Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team, for winning the 2021 FIBA women’s AfroBasket championship.

The minister gave the commendation on Monday in Abuja at a reception to welcome the victorious Nigerian ladies who won the title for the third consecutive time on Sunday in Yaounde.

D’Tigress defeated Mali 70-59 to emerge champions and they are undefeated on the continent since 2017 a run of 18 consecutive wins.

Dare at a reception held at the VIP Lounge of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja said the ministry was ready to work more closely with the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) to further develop the game in the country.

“I want to congratulate the team for winning the AfroBasket trophy and that is gold, you can see the Golden Cup here for the third consecutive time.

“They have shown a rare dominance, the dominance of the women basketball terrain by D’Tigress from the African continent, I can say it’s now indisputable,” he said.

The minister harped on the need to continue to follow the template of blending the home-based players and foreign-based ones to achieve results in all sports as exemplified by D’Tigress.

“We have seen how they are also blending the home-based players with the foreign players, that is the DNA of our sports as a country whether it is basketball or football, that blend always works for us.

“I want to thank each and every player, those that went to the Olympics, those that went to Senegal, and those that went to Cameroon; that entire team has always done this country proud and I know that they have more victories ahead of them.

“I also thank them for putting Nigeria on the global map of basketball, the same goes to D’Tigers. I can now say that Nigeria is truly a basketball nation,” he added.

He described the victory as a timely and worthy Independence Day gift to Nigeria.

Earlier, the outgoing Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the NBBF, Musa Kida, said the victory was a result of years of hard work and dedication from both administrators, players, and coaches.

He said the NBBF will continue to explore ways of developing the game from the grassroots while paying more attention to players’ and coaches’ welfare.

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