The Nigeria women’s basketball team, D’Tigress are embittered with the way the team has been treated by the the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) including the refusal to pay their allowances and match bonuses.
In a viral video posted on the microblogging platform, the players threatened to boycott the 2022 FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament over the refusal of the Federation and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to meet their demands.
The women outlined the injustices that have been allegedly perpetrated on them by the outgoing board of the NBBF, led by Musa Kida.
A member of the D’Tigress, Victoria Macaulay wondered why their historic feat of winning three straight African titles has not warranted being invited to Aso Rock even if it is only for the ceremonial presidential handshake.
In her words: “First we want to thank the Nigerian Embassy in Cameroon for celebrating us. We appreciate you more than you know. Other than that, we do not feel appreciated or celebrated after achieving a historical feat. In 2017 we won the Afrobasketball championship and three days later we presented it to the father of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari and his entire cabinet by the former ministry, Hon Solomon Dalung as customary with handshake. We have defended our championship and brought back the Cup in 2019 and 2021 but it’s historical but no invitation has been extended to the team to visit Aso Rock or a Presidential handshake, Why?”
Also, another member of the team, Promise Amukamara, faulted the claims by the Kida-led NBBF that the team is not being owed any monies.
“President of NBBF, Musa Kidi said that the Federation is not owing any players or officials allowances. This is far from the truth. The last time we checked, our allowances, bonuses , training grants and donations made by banks to players and officials and volunteers still have not been paid.”
On her part, Ezinne Kalu felt D’Tigress have been marginalized and that all their demands have been left unattended to ever since their former Team Manager resigned under cloudy circumstances.
“Ever since our general manager and team manager resigned, we feel like we have been marginalised. I have not seen a leadership like the former president, This one never really showed up for camps or competitions, to boost our morale. And we have significant concerns and issues that needs to be addressed, which he always give vague answers as if our concerns are not important to him. Musa Kida was not in Cameroon but somehow he showed up in Abuja to take pictures and to raise the trophy again for political gain,” she lamented.
Ify Ibekwe who shone brilliantly at the Olympics and also at the recently held FIBA Afrobasket Championship in Cameroon where D’Tigress were victorious opened up on the debt the players, officials and volunteers are owed.
“We are being owed USD 73,180 by the NBBF, USD 24,000 by the Ministry of Sports for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics grant and USD100,000 from donations from three banks in Nigeria,” Ibekwe stated.
Atonye Nyingifa, explained that what has hindered D’Tigress’ chances of performing at international competitions especially at the last Olympics in Tokyo where the team lost all their three group matches despite showing the potentials before the Olympics that they could compete with the best.
“There is a lot of things that can be done to increase our chances of success, starting with our travel , our flight, our team uniform, making sure they are standard, two practices a day and not been able to access medical staff are some of the things we faced during the Olympics.
However, Sarah Ogoke also wondered why the team has not been to Nigeria for camping or major celebrations.
“Why has the team not been to Nigeria since 2019? We are wondering the same thing. We want to go back to Nigeria and for the last two years we have not been to Nigeria for camps or for any celebrations. It is customary that the team is to go home for major competitions so that we cam have more help.”