D’Tigers and D’Tigress seek audience with Buhari
Players of Nigeria’s men’s and women’s national basketball teams have decided to seek an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari in hopes of overturning their self-imposed two-year ban from international basketball.
On May 12, the Ministry of Youth and Sports announced that President Buhari had cleared the country to stay away from international basketball due to the ongoing crisis in the administration of the game.
It was also stated that basketball on the national stage was moribund and there was an urgent need to resuscitate the sport from the grassroots, hence the decision to withdraw from international commitments.
The controversial move was met with so much backlash and led to D’Tigress’s withdrawal from the Women’s World Cup billed for Syndey, Australia in September.
FIBA announced that he had invited Mali to take Nigeria’s place and many found this distasteful hence the need to let President Buhari see the true picture and the greater harm the self-imposed ban will cause instead than to solve.
During Twitter space session held on Friday attended by members of D’Tigers and D’Tigress, the need for players to speak directly to President Buhari was stressed.
Shane Lawal, a player who was injured while representing Nigeria, says the recent events that led to D’Tigress being expelled from the World Cup are heartbreaking.
“We have to find someone who will put us in the same room; to humbly put ourselves in the same room as the president… Anything we can do to create a noise loud enough to be heard should be done,” said Lawal, whose injury has permanently changed the trajectory of his meteoric career.
For the former Barcelona star, it would be a great shame if D’Tigress were denied a chance to be at the World Cup after all the hard work they put in.
Even beyond D’Tigress, Shane said it would be a blow to every ambitious young Nigerian girl across the globe.
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“It’s so embarrassing that we’re even in this situation,” she said. “Imagine qualifying for the World Cup… And not being allowed to play by us (Nigerians), not by anyone else outside.”
For D’Tigress captain Adaora Elonu, one thing that has fueled this current blockage is the lack of communication and decisions being made based on assumptions.
She wondered how the young girls who are supposed to be the ministry’s new focus will be motivated when they have no chance to play international basketball even after the two-year exile expires. that they imposed themselves.
She said: I think there was a lot of misinformation being spread. There was definitely no control or communication with the players and I think that’s the biggest problem.
As the national team players seek to get the listening ears of President Buhari who they believe will let reason prevail, they have promised to come together to make a video which he hopes will reach the number citizen. one from the country.
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