*Question arises if NBBF is defying Ministry’s sack
Following the decline in the game of basketball, Nigeria’s second most played sport. There is urgent need to bring basketball back as one of the most popular sports in the country and re-ignite the dreams and aspirations of Nigerian youths who have found life in the game.
Leading sports marketing company, Inspire Marketing & Branding International, recently unveiled a bold agenda aimed at repositioning the game of basketball in the country. This is in view of the parlous state of basketball in Nigeria, which has been bedevilled by institutional and bureaucratic negligence as well as a lack of serious funding from both government and private sector.
Encouraging corporate and private sector sponsorship, supporting Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) developmental initiatives, raising funds to support Nigerian national teams, coordinating & facilitating international travel for the teams, elevating the Nigeria men’s team to top 10 and women’s team to top 30 in the rankings, funding grassroots basketball projects & initiatives, creating international opportunities for local basketballers, fostering sports scholarships opportunities for talented Nigerians and improving the image of Nigeria & Nigerians abroad through sports are some of the stated objectives of this initiative.
Speaking at a media parley in Lagos, Yinka Abioye, CEO, Inspire Marketing & Branding International noted that basketball, the second most played sport in Nigeria, has the potential of engaging and employing thousands of young people.
“To this end, our first step in repositioning and driving viability is that Inspire Marketing & Branding International in partnership with the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and the support of some NBA legends are organizing a fund raising Gala with the theme “Inspiring the Nation – Repositioning Basketball in Nigeria”. This event will take at the Grand-ballroom of the Oriental Hotel in Lagos on the 19th of May, 2017”, Abioye said.
On expected outcomes he said, “Our intention is to popularize the game and make it much more enviable than even soccer. By repositioning the game, we expect more followership, more value for the brand in the country, and we will help to deepen the sponsorship pool in a way that provides growth and opportunities to young players within and outside the country and develops the game in all its ramifications”, he continued.
Kunle Raji, NBBF Consultant on Marketing and Sponsorship explained that this “Partnership is part of the grand plan by the Federation to raise funds on the one hand, especially for the national teams, and also to build some infrastructure around the logistics that goes with nurturing the national teams. This is because in the past we have had challenges catering to the national teams from one end to the other as such it has become very necessary that we go this route in view of the expanded schedules and new windows being created which would see the national teams play at home. There would be a need for more resources and since we can’t fully depend on the government to meet our funding needs, there is need for an alternative”.
The Nigeria Men’s Basketball team, current defending champions of the AfroBasket has consistently risen in profile and is now ranked 16th in the world, while the women are ranked 42nd. Nigeria boasts of over 50 players on different teams across the globe. At the pinnacle of the game in the NBA were legends like Hakeem Olajuwon, Mike Olowokandi, Yinka Dare, Olumide Oyedeji, Obinna Ekezie; and current players like Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Akognon and Festus Ezeli, to name a few.
However, the Ministry of Sports had dissolved the NBBF alongside other federations. It is unclear which NBBF is involved in this programme.