The Nigeria Basketball Federation has denied reports that it mulling a bid to host the 2021 edition of the FIBA Afrobasket tournament.
Media reports had suggested the NBBF was actively exploring the possibility of staging Africa’s premier basketball competition in Nigeria but the federation distanced itself from such reports calling them “a figment of some people’s imagination” in a statement.
Speaking on Wednesday in Lagos, NNBF President Musa Kida stressed the NBBF never submitted a bid to host either the men’s or women’s 2021 FIBA Afrobasket championship either for men or women.
“What happened was that at the end of qualifiers in November 2020 in Kigali, FIBA did approach us asking whether there was a possibility that we could host. We said we needed to come back home and discuss with the authorities especially the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports before we could get back to them on the possibility of hosting,” Kida clarified.
Due to the timing and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the federation could not conclude with the Federal Government which put paid to such an idea, Kida said.
“We did not conclude on that because it was the end of the year and nobody was available for such discussion.”
He said hearing rumours about Nigeria hosting either of the championships came as a surprise to him and members of the board.
The Federation’s focus had since shifted to FIBA Afrobasket qualification for men (already achieved) as well as adequately preparing the D’Tigers and D’Tigress for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“We were being considered to host but right now, the door is closed and FIBA Africa has already decided that Men’s competition will be in Rwanda and for the women, Nigeria is not in the race anymore.”
The NBBF had previously played host to some countries across Africa in 2018 when it put up a colourful display during the second and fourth window of the World Cup qualifiers at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Before then, Nigeria hosted the 2005 FIBA Women Championship in Abuja to clinch its second Afrobasket title.