By Joe Apu
Nigeria champions Kano Pillars will lead the arrival of teams to Lagos for the 2017 FIBA Africa Zone 3 Club Championship elimination series for men starting on the today at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The other Nigeria teams include Mark Mentors, Civil Defence, Rivers Hoopers and Gombe Bulls while the Republic of Benin will be represented by Renaissance, Esport and ASPAC and Ghana will be represented by Customs Braves.
Technical meeting of the championship also holds today where fixtures would be drawn and other decisions taken.
Reason for the large number of teams from Nigeria was reached by the Executive board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation earlier in the week following series of extensive deliberations with FIBA Africa and relevant basketball stakeholders in Nigeria.
The NBBF President, Engineer Musa Kida said the board decided to accommodate more clubs in the overall interest of basketball in Nigeria as part of their policies when they came on board.
“In the light of prevailing circumstances, based on consultations and advice from FIBA Zone 3, it became expedient to give Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls another chance to participate in the Zone 3 Club Championship in Lagos 11th – 18th November.”
The NBBF said it also added Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt for heeding to the directives given by the board to stay away from the unsanctioned competition.
“We could not do this and leave out Rivers Hoopers who also heeded the Board’s directive and did not go to play in the non-recognized Final 8 competition in Kano.”
The federation said the move was made in the best interest of players who are innocent of infractions committed by their clubs in participating in the national playoff that was not sanctioned by the Kida led NBBF board.
The board warned that the latest decision should not be seen as a weakness and a license for clubs to go against the directives of constituted authority in future.
According to the federation, the decision was not taken to be politically correct, but in the overall interest of the players who are the main actors.