PRESIDENT of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijani Umar, has described Nigeria’s seventh place finish at the FIBA Africa Basketball Championship for men in Abidjan as unfortunate, considering the top players that were in the team.
Umar, who said that even the greatest teams play badly once in a while, stated that the aim of the Nigerian team was to claim the trophy for the first time and also qualify for the World Championship in Spain in 2014.
He also said that the injury to two of the players and the ineligibility of Chamberlain Oguchi disrupted the coaches’ plan at the championship.
The NBBF boss stated that he was not trying to make excuses for the team’s failure but was sure it would have been different if the team did not run into problems during the championship.
“For a championship of that nature, all the players must be fit so that the coach can rotate and make the best selections always. But we didn’t have that because of the injury to the players and the fact that Oguchi didn’t play on the advice of FIBA Africa.”
He also commended the coaches who gave the players the playing style of their opponents before any game and how to counter. He, however, assured that the team would be back for the 2015 edition of the championship.
“The team will surely be back after this disappointment. The players have the will and I am sure they would pick themselves up after this setback and do the country proud at the next edition,” Tijani added.
He also promised that the NBBF would continue to bring up programmes that would aid the development of basketball.