President of Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, Igoche Mark is still pondering over the intension of the International Basketball Federation, FIBA Africa in the NBBF politics.
Mark, in a media parley in Abuja on Tuesday said he is yet to know why FIBA Africa is bent on conniving with few “desperate individuals” to bring down the development of basketball in Nigeria.
“I want to liken what is happening to NBBF to what happened in the NFF few years ago, where some individuals will stay in a place and manufacture letters in the name of FIFA.
“Every International organisation has official means of communicating its affiliated federations in various countries. How can FIBA Africa instead of communicating Nigeria through NBBF secretariat, the Ministry and or the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, chose to pass information through an individual’s email address?
“All of these will certainly have effects on FIBA Africa in times to come. With the way FIBA Africa has gone to play into the politics of Nigeria basketball, its integrity is seriously affected,” he said and expressed that the details of how the Rivers Hooper was dropped off from participating in the Africa Basketball League, BAL in Mali is as shocking as it’s a big disappointment in some few individuals in Nigeria. “FIBA Africa has been blindfolded when it comes to Nigeria Basketball. Rivers Hooper not participating in Africa Basketball League, BAL is a handiwork of few Nigerian individuals”, Igoche Mark revealed.
Mark stated that he is around for the best interest of Nigeria Basketball, which has been on the decline since over five years ago.
According to him, hopping into the plane to the Olympic Games and International Champions is not the best interest for the game.
“The players scattered around the world, whom some few individuals proud to parade in major international tournaments were products of grassroots development. Ejike Ugbuaja, the former Players’ representative at the former NBBF board was a product of the grassroots development and was an NBA player. Without the grassroots development, the players cannot fly to the NBA level.
“I’m here in the best interest of Nigeria Basketball, and I have remained focused on grassroots development and create more opportunities for the players to play more games. My interest in going for the NBBF President is to give and not to gain from it. By His Grace, I’m comfortable. The NBBF should not be regarded as a place for retirement benefits as some individuals are considering it. I’m up for anything that will take the game to the next level. It’s been sad that players train every day in a year only for them to assemble for just a week tournament.
“I’ve been contacting corporate and multinationals for sponsorship. I should be discussing issues on way forward and not the ones that is capable of pulling one back”, he said and pointed out that D’Tigress have picked up the ticket to the World Championship in Australia later in the year and D’Tigers are preparing for Qualifiers.
He said the players’ insistence that they were interested and want to play spurred him on to offer to serve, “which was why I contested in the Abuja election on January 31, 2022.
“It is surprising that the Sports Ministry have recognised both elections in Abuja and Benin City, Edo state”.
He however pointed out that before the end of second quarter 2022, the NBBF Board will harmonise and roll out full programmes for Federation just as he added that many basketball players in Nigeria have been forced into untimely retirement following the non-existence of the league, which according to him, is not enough to keep them fit and contest the National team jersey with their foreign-based counterparts.
“Now that I am here, my emergence as the NBBF President will change the narrative”.
The Chairman, Kaduna State Basketball Association, Scambo Morrison accused FIBA of fuelling crisis in Nigeria basketball as he compared what happened in 2017 the role FIBA played in the emergence of Musa Kida-led board. He the said election conducted in an hotel in Abuja without the presence of FIBA representative, Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) and many basketball stakeholders was given credence by FIBA over election conducted in Kano by the then incumbent NBBF President, Tijjani Umar.
Also speaking, the Players’ Representatives on NBBF board, Stanley Gumut, said with the coming of the current NBBF President, players have already seen signs of better things ahead.
He said, “With the ongoing Mark D Ball competition sponsored by just an individual, each player and coaches make N7,000 and N10,000 respectively every matchday. Mark D Ball platform is the beginning of goodies to come in the domestic league. He (Igoche Mark) has the interest of players at heart”.