Igoche bemoans crisis in Nigerian basketball

Mark Igoche, the organizer of the ongoing Mark D Basketball Championships, has said that  stakeholders could not survive another four years crisis in the Nigeria Basketball Federation ( NBBF).

Igoche disclosed this to Journalists on Friday, at the third place match of the ongoing Championships at the indoor hall of the package B of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development have so many questions to answer on the crisis in Basketball, which is killing the sport in the country.

” They (the ministry) are also in the middle of all this confusion. They should stand on their ground and do the right thing, otherwise they will further be killing the game of basketball.

“The sport has been trying for revival in the past few months, the ball has been defeated for a very long time and we need to bounce it back.

“I don’t think we can survive another four years of crisis in Nigeria Basketball; that will be too bad because they are the custodian of all the sports,” he said.

Igoche on Wednesday was endorsed by Basketball stakeholders as a candidate for the upcoming presidential election of the NBBF.

He affirmed that he will be contesting for the post of the president, saying, ‘I’m going to contest in the election;, the Ministry have to provide a level play ground for me to contest.

“Election should not be something someone wants to hijack by force, I want to believe that they should  throw it to people and let the basketball stakeholders decide who should lead them.

“If it is free and fair election whoever wins is okay, because what I am after is the development of basketball in the country,” he said.

Also speaking on the championships, Igoche said the competition had brought a lot of change to the stadium and its environs.

“The championship has impacted on the life of basketball players and everybody, the food sellers and the players, who are also lodged in hotels will also boost their business,” he said .

He said he was satisfied with the quality of the game and that players had a bright future, if they were to remain serious with the sport.

“I am satisfied with the quality of the games I have seen for the past one week. I have been coming here everyday to watch the game and I am tempted to have my own female team.

“The girls are very good and good to watch and with a little push they can make this country proud,” he said.

He announced that the winner of the female championships would receive a prize money of one million Naira, second position N750, 000, while the third would get N500,000.

He noted that the male Championships would kick off on Saturday for the next 12 weeks.

The founder of Adamark Foundation for girls, Ada Mark Ogbole, described the competition as well planned and more of it would make the girls fit and happy to bounce the ball again.

“In terms of planning, I think it has been well planned, a lot of girls have been yearning for long to play the game.

“The game is getting better on a daily basis, and more interesting; 16 teams is a huge number and we have a full participation of female teams,” she said.

She added that the championship was a new face and beginning for the sport in the country.

“This is a new beginning for basketball, we are trying to create a safe environment for girls to play the game.

” I’m sure the girls are also looking forward to more matches to play, we are also looking forward to the next competition which will be 12 weeks tournament for the girls,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kada Angels defeated Sunshine Angels 68-66 in the third place match, First Bank girls of Lagos would meet the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the finals on Saturday.

A total 16 teams are vying for honours in the championship, which began on Jan. 15 and would end on Jan.22.

The participating teams were: Air Warrior of Abuja, First Bank, Delta Force, Sunshine Angels of Akure Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Novena Queens Owerri, Kada Angels, Benue Princess and Plateau Rocks.

Others are: Mountain of Fire (MFM), FCT Rocks, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Queens, Taraba Hurricanes, Nasarawa Amazons, Hot Coal Sizzlers of Abuja and Bayelsa Queens. (NAN)