10th October, 2011
Former Chairman of Lagos State Sports Council and one time coach of the junior national team, Junior Tigers, Agboola Pinheiro, believes the performance of home-based players at the just concluded 2011 Afrobasket in Bamako, Mali and the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, has proved that they can compete favourably with their foreign- based colleagues.
Coach Pinheiro, the DSTV Premier League Director, said there is need for the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, to change its policy by giving equal opportunity to both local and foreign-based players in the national teams.
He said that gone are the days when foreign-based players stroll into national teams with the belief of having automatic shirts.
â€œIt is evident that we have talented and good players across the country. There are local players that can rob shoulders with their foreign based counterparts if given the opportunity,â€ Pinheiro said.
â€œWith the performance of Amaka Adebile of First Bank and Nkechi Achile of First Deepwater in Mali, we have seen that our league players have really improved and they need to be respected.
â€œWhen next we are calling players for national duties, it should be thrown open to every player that can make the team. Foreign-based players should not be given preferential treatment.â€ Coach Agboola said it is unfortunate that the national womenâ€™s team could not secure the 2012 Olympic ticket, despite NBBFâ€™s ambition to see them play in London.
He, however, opined Nigeria remains a top rated country in the world, saying all we need to do is to re-address how coaches are appointed for national assignments.
Agboola said: â€œ The bane of Nigerian basketball still remains putting round pegs in square holes.A technical committee should handle the appointment of coaches for our national teams. We also need coaches that will be assessed based on their managerial skills, psychological and intellectual ability. When coaches are appointed without favouritism Nigeria will return to itâ€™s place of pride in the world.â€
Pinheiro advised the sport ministry that all those coaches clamouring to work with the national teams should be made to work as welfare managers, team managers or in other capacities.
He pointed out that the job of head coach of a national team is a sensitive one that can only be handled by sound minds.