The Nigeria Basketball Federation has refuted reports that Civil Defenders Basketball Club of Abuja were thrown out of the ongoing FIBA Africa zone 3 club championship elimination being hosted in Lagos.
Speaking earlier on Thursday at a press parley with members of the sports writers Association of Nigeria in Lagos, the Vice President of the NBBF, Babatunde Ogunade said the Abuja based club left without consulting the organisers.
“The board had to bend backwards to accommodate Civil Defence. As you were aware, they were in the hotel for 4 days, slept and fed before they packed their baggage and left without recourse to the board or the organisers.”
He described it as a little chink in the armour of the event as it has affected the fixtures and numbers of games to be played by participating clubs.
For Ogunade, the case is straightforward since the club’s leader of delegation to the tournament Commandant Titus Ayodele is a member of the NBBF board.
“They own their team and it’s not the job of NBBF to clear players for FIBA competitions. As Civil Defence, they run a basketball outfit.
We have already sent them the guidelines one clear month before we even sent to Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls.”
The LOC chairman said, “ Before we could reach them, they were already in Okene in Kogi state and there was nothing the federation could do because that was when I was away to receive the cheque from the Honourable Minister for the victorious D’Tigress team.”
Meanwhile the President of FIBA Zone 3 and member of the FIBA Africa central board, Col. Samuel Ahmedu (rtd) has described the facility and organisation as the best ever since assuming office as the president of the zone.
“Facility wise, this is one of the best facilities that have been used for club championships since I became the president of the zone. Burkina Faso hosted in 2014, Benin hosted in 2015 and Togo hosted in 2016, the standard here is very high.
All of you have watched the games, there has been no blow-out except maybe in one or two games. All the games have been close. “Organization wise, it has been very good.”
He acknowledged that the withdrawal of Civil Defence has dampened the enthusiasm of the organisers, but the competition will still continue as planned.
“This is life and they are in charge of their own team and they chose not to play and they left. It does not affect those who will qualify .
They have lost the opportunity to learn and become better and they have exposed themselves to sanctions by FIBA and it’s nobody’s fault.”
Matches will continue on today.