Chairman of Gombe Bulls Basketball Club, Ibrahim Gimba, has cast doubt on the future of Nigeria’s national basketball teams and game of basketball in the country.
Since the coming on board of Musa Kida-led faction of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), the board has continued to rely on foreign-based players and coaches to prosecute all D’Tigers and D’Tigress’ matches.
Speaking with newsmen, Gimba says the current climate of short-termism is having an increasingly detrimental effect on Nigeria’s national teams and the development of domestic coaches and players alike, advocating a deliberate programme that will graduate players from the local leagues to national teams.
He said the continued reliance on foreign players and coaches to prosecute national teams matches due to a four-year-old leadership crisis in NBBF had traumatised the development of basketball in the country and badly affected the players, coaches and sponsors.
“The local players have been badly affected by the crisis. In fact, it is very devastating for the players and the officials to stay home without playing basketball. If you look at the line-up for the last qualifiers for the D’Tigers, we have about seven coaches in the team without a single indigenous coach,” Gimba said.
“All the coaches were drawn from America and any of the camping either for D’Tigers and D’Tigress, they take to the USA and start running helter-skelter to select already made materials in Europe, America and Asia but by name Nigerians to come and represent the Nigeria and by extension killing the national teams.
“The local leagues (grassroots) are supposed to feed the national teams. they must be a deliberate programme that will graduate players from the local leagues to national teams.
“Our continued reliance on players who have been groomed outside the country has been our bane because those players do not understand our culture and philosophy and most of them do not have any close ties to Nigeria so it is easy for them to turn their backs on the country when we need them most.”