NIGERIA : Nigerian Federation, Clubs agree on DStv, Zenith Leagues

The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), club owners and other stakeholders in the Nigeria basketball system rose from a day-long meeting over the weekend and announced March 13th as the start off date for the 2009/2010 season of the DStv Basketball League. The decision means that the original proposed dates of February 27th and later March 6th are no longer in place. Similarly, the Federation and club owners of the Zenith Bank League met less than 24 hours after the first meeting for the men’s event and agreed to hold the first phase of the Zenith Bank League from March 17th though 27th. Kano, however, remains the venue. The cities of Port Harcourt and Lagos will host the second and final phases respectively.

“They were quite long deliberations but they have been very helpful to the development of the game in the country. Every area as it affects the leagues were touched and so we expect a smooth take off and run through,” the Secretary of the Federation Mr. Francis Gbiri said following the weekend deliberations.

The meetings with the club owners were part of a general seminar and stakeholders’ event held at the Ilorin Stadium Kwara State. Referees, Technical Commissioners and Statisticians were also at the venue where they attended refresher programmes. The deliberations touched on all parts of the league administration and rules and regulations that will guide the leagues for the current and future seasons. The draft presented two weeks ago by the Federation was considered by the whole house and adopted with amendments to certain sections by the two meetings.

The gathering agreed on all matters but could not finalise talks on sharing formula for the sponsorship revenue from Multichoice and Zenith Bank the parent companies of the leagues sponsors. A new meeting was agreed for later this week in Abuja with the duo of Col Sam Ahmedu (Dodan Warriors) and Hon Tanko Dutse of Yelwa Hawks representing the clubs. All 16 clubs in the men’s league were represented in the meeting in Ilorin. The women’s league also had full representations.

By Pius Ayinor, FIBA Africa