By Akeem Busari
The Nigeria Basketball Federation has reaffirmed its intentions to continue to lubricate the conveyor belts of the local talents factory.
The ongoing National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State has provided the NBBF with another opportunity to scout for younger basketball talents at the games. One of those on ground from the NBBF, is national team coach Ogoh Odaudu.
Speaking to journalists in Asaba, the highly-rated coach of Rivers Hoopers, was quick to express his optimism on the future of the game in Nigeria. Stating that the past happenstances have helped to make the NBBF more resolute and committed to the development of basketball in Nigeria.
“The NBBF is very determined to grow the game in Nigeria. That’s one of the reasons I am here. To scout for players that will be used in youth competitions and possibly, the senior national team too,” he explained.
“I can tell confidently that Nigerian basketball is on the rise again. The amount of talent we have in the country, leaves us no choice but to excell. Nigerian basketball will always be great,” he enthused.
Speaking further, he lamented the conditions the basketball games are being played at the sports festival in Asaba.
“The conditions the basketball games are being played here don’t exactly make the players perform at the level they should perform. Games are played from 8am and its played on the outside courts. Some teams play at 1pm under the blazing sun. Plus the organisers didn’t provide a 24 sec short clock, so the quality of play is low.
“We need to be ready before we host competitions. Facilities have to be available and fire brigade approaches should be discouraged,” he added.
Odaudu recently had a brief training stint with Coach Mike Brown of Sacramento Kings in the USA. While relishing the experience, he revealed that he plans to transfer some of his newly acquired knowledge of the game to other local basketball coaches in Nigeria.
“I am planning to have a sit down with the coaches available here at the NSF, to pass along the little I acquired from by brief stint with Mike Brown this past summer. I hope they will leave here and also spread it with their colleagues when they return to their various states after the festival. And it’s something that’s going to be regular, at every opportunity I am presented with,” he said.
He went on to commend the NBBF board led by Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida, for their unflinching commitment to the development of the game in Nigeria.
” I will say the NBBF board and the game are back on track, because they have picked up from where they stopped or were stopped and trying to revive the game again. I think the new year will bring with it a new dawn in Nigerian basketball,” he remarked confidently.