Kida wants special budget for sports
• Targets top five finish at World Cup
Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president, Musa Kida, has joined the call for a special arrangement that would enable sports to function effectively outside the national budget.
Recently, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung called on the National Assembly to help the ministry secure funds to enable Nigeria prepare adequately for the international competitions slated for next year. The call, he said, was to avoid the delay in getting funds through the national budget, which sometimes does not come until midway into the fiscal year.
Speaking in Lagos on Saturday, Kida said it has become necessary for the Federal Government to look at alternative system of funding sports to help the sector function effectively.
According to Kida, “International sports run on specified calendar and the world will not postpone any event because Nigeria is not ready.
“I believe that sports should have a special place in the heart of our leaders because it does more for the image of the country than so many other sectors.
“I know that some other sectors face the same challenge, but my take is that there should be a way that will allow us to prepare and participate in events even before the money from national budget is appropriated. There should be a sort of concession to the sports sector if it must thrive.”
On the Kwese-sponsored men’s league and the furore generated by the NBBF’s decision to ignore the outcome of the competition while entering teams for continental competitions, Kida said the body has no apology to any club that chose to ignore ‘several warnings’ over the competition.
He added: “We have had a few discussions with Kwese on the league. I will like to thank the group for identifying with Nigerian basketball, as well as for understanding clearly and differentiating politics from the game.
“Some clubs participated in an unrecognized competition despite several warnings, while others chose to obey instructions from the duly constituted authority. It would be wrong for us to punish a club because it decided to obey the directive. Some of the clubs that participated in the illegal competition have since come to tell us the circumstances they took part in it. But some are defiant and arrogant and instead are not ready to follow the rules.”
The NBBF boss, who said the federation have not sat down to discuss the budget for next season, assured Nigerians that the country would do well at the men and women World Cups coming up next year.
He added, “We have been able to send teams to international competitions due to support from the private sector. We won a gold medal in the Afrobasket women championship and took the silver in the men’s version. We also got to the finals of the two 3×3 championships we took part in.
“Next year, we expect to finish at least among the top five at the two World Cup competitions, but I feel we can get a medal in one of them.”