BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Olumide Oyedeji is pleased with Hoops And Read after his pet club reached the last four in their maiden outing in the Kwese Basketball Premier League.
“I am very glad at what these young players have achieved this season. They have surpassed my expectations,” the former NBA star and D’ Tigers captain stated on Thursday after his young side lost 78-77 to Gombe Bulls in a semi-final game.
Kano Pillars will on Saturday play Gombe Bulls in the final while Hoops and Read will vie for the third place the Indoor Sports Hall of the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.
Winners of the 2017 edition of the championship will take home N45m prize money, with the champions pocketing N20 million while the second and third-placed teams get N15 million and N10 million respectively.
President, Nigeria Basketball Federation, Tijani Yusuf stressed that the prize monies were approved by the sponsors, Kwese Sports, towards ensuring that Nigerian basketball players in the clubs and their officials are treated like true professionals and are given a sense of belonging. “On behalf of the board, I say a very big thank you to Kwese for helping to truly transform Nigerian basketball and also for their continued confidence in us, despite the crisis, they stood very firm with the league. This shows the resilience of the satellite television company. “We also sympathise with the three clubs that were stopped from participating in the final phases of the Kwese League: Mark Mentors, the Defenders and Rivers Hoopers. It’s sad to see desperate persons trying to grab the Kwese League from us by force. The league is for the players.” It’s that same league that has provided a total prize money that rivals the Nigeria Premier Football League. This is massive for basketball in Nigeria.
“The entire Nigerian basketball family members are in Kano, except for those in the national team. The players, coaches, technical officials, statisticians and best eight clubs in the country are all in Kano for the Final 8. I sincerely congratulate the players and officials of Rivers Hoopers for publicly protesting against impunity in basketball. As we move closer to the November 30 deadline given by FIBA for a final resolution, things are happening and many more are being unravel.
” He revealed that the NOC has called an You meeting to hold in Abuja on Thursday to begin the road to resolution of the basketball issue. The issue in Nigerian basketball cannot be wished away, it cannot also be swept under the carpet. “We must sit on a round table to reach a resolution and if that doesn’t work, we are ready for fresh elections.”