If Nigeria must participate effectively at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games it must get at least $2 million (about N2 billion) to prepare and take care of its teams, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has said.
For the first time in the country’s participation in the Olympics, it will present two teams (men and Women) at the competition, which will feature the world’s best basketball-playing countries.
Nigeria is among the countries expected top win at least a bronze medal in each of the categories if the teams are well-prepared for the global fiesta.
NBBF Vice President, Babs Ogunade, who is chairman of the technical committee, said at the weekend that the proposed budget covers the two national teams.
The FIBA Hall of Famer said the budget is not “one that should be left all alone for the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development to bear.”
He added, “The NBBF board is elated to have qualifications for both D’Tigers and D’Tigress – and proudly a first by any African country – but there is the huge burden of funding the teams. The federation needs N2Bn (estimated) to prosecute the Olympics in Tokyo.
“This will include, but not limited to flight tickets, stipends, allowances, as well as match bonuses. There is also plan of pre-camp and during camp travels for friendly international matches for both teams. The trips would impact heavily on the budget.”
Ogunade said the biggest challenge the NBBF is facing is the quality and calibre of players the federation is attracting from the NBA, WNBA and top leagues in Europe to the Olympics camp.
“The known NBA standard is that their players cannot fly on economy tickets but at least Business Class. And the NBBF could have nearly 10 of such players in the team. The federation is trying hard to have fair morale balancing and would then have to buy the same type of tickets for the players rather than have some sit in the business section and others in the economy class. The same treatment will then also apply to the ladies.”
While calling on corporate organisations to come to the aid of the federation, Ogunade pointed out that the enthusiasm expressed by the players is one of assurances that they are ready to give their best for Nigeria.
“The federation has gotten the assurances of the players but on our part, we need to also meet their basic needs,” he said.
Earlier investigation revealed that the Sports Ministry still owes the NBBF expenses from the last AfroBasket Women 2017 held in Mali and the 2019 edition in Senegal where D’Tigress won the title back to back.
The federation is also yet to get refunds for the FIBA World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers and the FIBA World Cup 2019. All the competitions though were executed before Sunday Dare took over as the Nigeria’s sports minister.