The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, has charged the D’Tigress to go for gold and compete clean when hostilities commence at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup on Saturday, September 22, in Tenerife, Spain.
Dalung gave the charge on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his office in Abuja during a brief sent-forth party organized for the team.
“It is the belief of this government that for every competition, you should compete clean and fair. The country is standing solidly behind you. We are looking out for you with hope that with hard work, you can bring the trophy home,” he began.
Dalung said that the Ministry under his watch is giving equal opportunities to all sportsmen and women to excel at the grassroots and international stage.
“We are deliberately looking towards the development of female sport, and we believe that once we are able to equitably tackle the imbalance between the men’s football, women’s football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, our women will do us proud, because they have less of the controversies compared to the men,” he observed.
The Minister thanked the players for their dedication and willingness to heed the clarion call to represent Nigeria in Spain. “I want to thank you sincerely for honouring the invitation to come to camp, for considering service to your country as a priority. You are a team that is very compact, driven by common interest and also determined. I believe that the sky will be the limit of this team,” Dalung continued.
In her response, the team’s captain, Adaora Elonu, promised that D’Tigress will do their best to give a good representation of the country, which will be playing at the competition as African Champions.
Elonu thanked the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President, Engineer Musa Kida, for ensuring the team’s early call to camp and early preparations to stand a chance of competing seriously at the World Cup.
The NBBF boss, who was represented by the Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade, thanked the minister for his support to the Board, so far. “We cannot thank you enough for your level of support to the Board. You have shown yourself to be a good and dependable father. Like Oliver Twist, we still ask for more,” he said.
At the ceremony were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Olusade Adesola, the President, Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Gumel, and other staff of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.