Nigeria govt rescind decision over basketball withdrawal

Nigeria’s government has made a U-turn over its decision last month to withdraw from international basketball for the next two years.

At the time the Ministry of Youth and Sports said the withdrawal was because of “the unending drama that have plagued and nearly crippled basketball” in the West African country.

It argued the decision, which was approved by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, would enable the country to ‘revamp’ the sport from grassroots level and revive ‘moribund’ domestic leagues.

The reversal comes after talks between officials from the sport’s world governing body, FIBA, and Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Sunday Dare.

A letter from the FIBA-recognised Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president Musa Kida outlining key changes which could be made also helped prompt the government’s change in position.

The move means Nigeria men’s team will be able to continue in the qualifying campaign for the 2023 World Cup in Rwanda next month, where they will play Mali, Uganda and Cape Verde.

D’Tigers are top of the group on points difference after the first round of games last November, with the top three in the pool advancing to the second round of qualifying which is set to begin in August.

However, the announcement comes too late for the women’s national team to be reinstated into this year’s Women’s World Cup.

Earlier this month FIBA took the decision to replace Nigeria with Mali at the tournament, which will be held in Australia in September and October. –BBC

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