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Zenith Bank may take over payment of women basketballers’ salaries


African champions…Nigeria celebrating her FIBA Afrobasket Championship victory after beating Senegal by 65 to 48 points at the final played in Bamako, Mali. The victory also handed D’Tigresses passage to the World Championship as African champions. PHOTO: FIBA.BASKETBALL.COM.

• Nigeria gets FIBA 3X3 World Cup wild card

Women Basketball league sponsors, Zenith Bank has sent a proposal to the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) seeking to take over the salary payment of women basketball players. The bank sees it as a way of enhancing its relationship with the women basketball league.   

The bank believes the standard of women basketball will rise if a viable structure was put in place to make it more competitive and economically rewarding for players.Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, NBBF Media Representative, Oni Afolabi said Zenith Bank and NBBF met at the bank’s corporate headquarters in Lagos on Wednesday, where the bank talked about the need to restructure women basketballers’ salary to meet international best practices.

Speaking on the proposal, Zenith Bank’s Corporate Communications staff, Nwabueze Chidubem said there was need to set salary benchmarks for players to ensure that their welfare aligned with international best practices.

“We need to set a standard and basic salary benchmarks for players. It begins with the organization of the teams. We will propose that salaries and match bonuses of players are paid directly by the bank or through the teams with proper monitoring.

“People need to have a better understanding of our league, which will capture the teams, phases, time frame and venues. The timetable will not only help us as sponsors in planning for the league, it will also help teams in preparing ahead of time. If we say we have a premier league, we need to know on time.”

Chidubem also added that in view of the economic reality in Nigeria, there is need to do more in improving the sponsorship package of the league.NBBF’s Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade thanked Zenith Bank for its support to basketball in the past 12 years, promising, “We will create an environment where the players are the bigger brand than the administrators because without them, we won’t be sitting here talking about basketball.’’

Ogunade also reminded Zenith Bank’s management of their promise to support the senior women’s national team to prepare and participate at the 2018 World Cup. He also appealed for Zenith Bank’s backing for the D’Tigers, who will commence their World Cup qualifiers in February 2018.

Meanwhile, Nigeria will compete in the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup holding in Manila, Philippines from June 8 to 12, 2018 following a wild card given to it by FIBA.

The 3×3 team, captained by Abdul Yahaya, won its first FIBA Africa 3×3 Nations Cup in Lome, Togo recently, a feat, which FIBA deemed good enough to fetch it the wildcard.

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