NBA Africa VP: Basketball Can Overtake Soccer In Nigeria

stakeholders who are invested in the growth of basketball are focused on moving the game forward
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Basketball can overcome off-court problems that have "plagued" the game to supplant football (soccer) as the number one sport in Nigeria, according to the vice president of NBA Africa.

The West African country withdraw its teams from international competition in May at the behest of the government, which intended to dissolve the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) and appoint an interim committee to oversee the management of the game.

That decision was reversed a month later but the change of direction came too late for the women's national team, who lost their place at the World Cup in Australia, which begins next month.

However, the men's side are still competing for qualification for next summer's World Cup.

"Yes, there was a ban, but the ban has been lifted. And the great thing is that all the stakeholders who are invested in the growth of basketball are focused on moving the game forward," Gbemisola Abudu, who also holds the position of Head of NBA Nigeria, told the BBC World Service.

Gbemisola Abudu

"The number one team sport played by most Nigerians, and that most Nigerians engage with, is football - the second being basketball.

"There's an appetite for the sport in the market - and this is without us doing some level of intentional investments.

"You can only imagine that with us (the NBA) opening an office, with the type of programmes we're going to have from our junior NBA programmes to our coaching programmes, it's only going to increase the footprint of the brand and of the game in Nigeria." Read more.