2nd June, 2022
By Ijeoma Okigbo
Ezinne Kalu, a player of D’Tigress, Nigeria’s senior women basketball team, on Thursday said she was not likely to represent the country again.
The D’Tigress point-guard said this via her twitter handle, following FIBA’s pronouncement that Mali would replace Nigeria at the upcoming 2022 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Australia.
“I don’t think I will ever wear the green and white again,” Kalu wrote.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kalu, alongside others, secured Nigeria’s place at the World Cup after beating Mali at the qualification stage in Serbia.
But they will now be replaced by their African rivals following Federal Government’s suspension of Nigeria’s basketball from international competitions for two years.
This had come as a result of the ongoing leadership tussle in the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
Other players have also voiced their frustrations on twitter, blaming Sunday Dare, the Youth and Sports Development Minister, and the NBBF for the ouster from the global showpiece.
Stan Okoye, who plays for D’Tigers, D’Tigress’ male counterparts, reacted thus: “Wow, what a shame! Greed, selfishness, corruption, all the above. My heart is broken for these ladies.
“Well done NBBF, Muhammadu Buhari, Sunday Dare, truly an embarrassment.”
Another D’Tigers player, Chimezie Metu, also described the situation as embarrassing.
“Extremely alarming. Decades of work have been thrown down the drain.
“Multiple-time African champions and multiple Olympic/World Cup bids and we don’t get to even participate in the next competition, not because of an athletic inability but because grown men are too busy fighting over money.
“At the end of the day, this is only a metaphor for what our people are going through in Nigeria. Innocent people suffering because our so-called “leaders” are too busy being greedy,” Metu added.
NAN reports that FIBA also said it would make known its decisions relating to NBBF’s participation in other international competitions and any potential disciplinary measures in due course.