19 April 2007

NIGERIA : Junior Tigers Camp Opens May

By Hassan Abdul

Camping for Nigeria's junior national basketball team, the Junior Tigers, initially slated to commence on the 22nd of April, will now commence in the first week of May.
This gives the team, just two months to prepare for the under-19 club championship coming up in Serbia in July and also for the 9th All African Games coming up in Algiers in the same month.The Nigeria Basketball Federation had in January, suspended preparation for the team, alongside the other male and female national basketball teams to enable it sort out 'logistic' problems involved in the selection and training of the players to be used for both events and had promised that all will be set in April for the camping to resume.
Basketball is going to one of the highly contested games at the Algiers 2007 with countries like Angola, who produced the winners and runners-up at the last African Basketball Clubs Championship, as one of the top contenders for the title.
"We had to change the date and push it one week forward because of the elections going on. We felt it was better to put some time between the conduct of the elections and the resumption of the camp," Dr. Adamu Ahmed, chairman of the NBBF technical committee told Trustsports.
The invited players will now be camped in Kaduna, as against the initially reported location, Lagos.The 'delay' in the take off of preparations had drawn criticisms from many stakeholders in the game, with many saying the country was courting failure.

Although a date has finally been fixed, the crucial issue of the composition of the team is still not certain as fears that the bulk of the team will be formed around foreign-based players had been making the rounds and was a strategy being considered in the NBBF's quest to make best use of the resources available to it.
"These players who are in Europe and the United States are exposed to better training and medical facilities so that is an advantage that we can capitalize on. However, we will see how we can fit in local players in our plans," Mr. Akinlotan Segun, former secretary of the Nigerian Basket Ball Federation, had said.

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