The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has denied widespread reports that Civil Defenders Basketball Club of Abuja were expelled from the FIBA Africa zone 3 club championship elimination currently taking place in Lagos.
Speaking earlier on Thursday at a press conference, the basketball body’s Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade stated that the Abuja-based club left without consulting the organisers.
In his words, Ogunade said: “The board had to bend backwards to accommodate Civil Defence. As you were aware, they were in the hotel for 4 days, slept and fed before they packed their baggage and left without recourse to the board or the organisers.”
Speaking further, Ogunade described the situation as a little chink in the armour of the event due to the fact that it has affected the fixtures and numbers of games participating clubs have to play.
For him, the case is not difficult at all since the person that led the club’s delegation to the tournament is an NBBF board member (Commandant Titus Ayodele).
Ogunade further said: “They own their team and it’s not the job of NBBF to clear players for FIBA competitions. As Civil Defence, they run a basketball outfit.
We have already sent them the guidelines one clear month before we even sent to Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls.” he further added.
The LOC chairman also added that: ” Before we could reach them, they were already in Okene in Kogi state and there was nothing the federation could do because that was when I was away to receive the cheque from the Honourable Minister for the victorious D’Tigress team.”
In the same vein, FIBA Zone 3 president and FIBA Africa central board member, Col. Samuel Ahmedu (rtd), has expressed delight at how the tournament has panned out. He added that the facility and organisation he has witnessed has been the best ever since assuming office as the president of the zone.
In his words, Ahmedu said: “Facility wise, this is one of the best facilities that have been used for club championships since I became the president of the zone. Burkina Faso hosted in 2014, Benin hosted in 2015 and Togo hosted in 2016, the standard here is very high.
“All of you have watched the games, there has been no blow-out except maybe in one or two games. All the games have been close. “Organization wise, it has been very good.”
He further revealed that the tournament will go on despite the fact that Civil Defenders’ withdrawal threatened to dampen the enthusiasm of organisers. He said: “This is life and they are in charge of their own team and they chose not to play and they left. It does not affect those who will qualify.”
“They have lost the opportunity to learn and become better and they have exposed themselves to sanctions by FIBA and it’s nobody’s fault.” he concluded.
The tournament will go on with more matches expected on Friday.