The NBBF has responded to claims it abandoned players of D’Tigers to the AfroCan in Mali, playing down on the rancor over the players travelling by road.
On allegations the players were not provided with a hotel upon their arrival at the Nigerian border, the NBBF dismissed them as misinformation.
In a release published on Sunday, NBBF President Musa Kida argued the cash strapped Federation acted within its means in an expedient manner, sending players on a three-day journey by road.
“We all did it when we played. Mali is not a very far distance by road. Some officials (NBBF Board Members) themselves have done it in the past when players were flying to Cote d’Ivoire for the last window of the World Cup qualifiers,” Kida stated.
“For us, it is not an issue per se, it is a way of calibrating to the means that we have right now and making sure that the home based players were properly represented in Mali for the AFROCAN.
“Even if there was a professional that was taken for AFROCAN, he would have gone by road because that was what we could afford at the time to ensure our players participated.”
Furthermore, the NBBF’s International Representative Sam Ahmedu said the report of players being stranded at the Niger border was an attempt to “confuse Nigerians”.
“No one was stranded at the Nigerian border. The team got to the border late and by then the immigration service had already closed for the day.”
The NBBF representative claims the players were already briefed about spending personal money on their trip back home.
“Ahmedu said before the trip, players were properly briefed about the arrangements put in place by the NBBF and they all agreed that donning the National colours was far more important,” according to the statement.
‘With Nigeria participating in 4 major international events (U16 Boys in Cape Verde, AFROCAN, AfroBasket Women in Senegal and FIBA World Cup Men in China) within a short period, there was need to think outside the box.’
‘Some of the players on this trip were in Australia for the Commonwealth Games and in Cote d’Ivoire under the same leadership and they can testify to the importance the federation placed on their welfare.’