NIGERIA : Oputa - Nigerian Basketball Needs Structural Reforms

Oputa Emeka Obi, current Assistant Coach OF Police Baton Basketball Club of Lagos and a notable basketball stakeholder believes Nigeria can compete favourable well with their African counterpart at the world stage if proper mechanisms are put in place. The Ex-International in this interview with SportsDay’s Phillips Tayo speaks on various issues affecting the growth of Basketball while calling for proactive reforms.

Low Govt Funding
The state of low funding for the organisation of the game in recent times is a mitigating factor hindering the development. If you look at how much being budgeted for football and compare it to other sports’ budget Basketball inclusive, then we can question the sincerity of the government.
If two billion can be budgeted for World Cup in the name of football, then the government should budget the same two billion to be shared by other sporting association and the results will be massive and positive for Nigerian sports.

Sponsorship Package
The 40% percent of the sponsorship package shared to the Basketball Clubs is inadequate given the prevailing circumstances in the industry. It is like a drop of water into the ocean. Club Ownership and administration entails huge expenses to be incurred vis-a-vis provision of training kits, jerseys, medical and insurance packages, camping and feeding of players, payment of contract fees, allowances and bonuses with other logistics expenditure.
It is a big challenge which club administrators grapple with and this is in view of the fact that most of the clubs are not government-owned.

League Sponsorship
The league sponsorship is commendable although, there is still room for improvement. This season shouldn’t be a test-run like last year season but certain developments within the NBBF polity occasioned the situation. Our league should be fashioned to run concurrently with our European counterparts because we are of the FIBA Family. With this development, we need to initiate reforms and policies to attract more sponsors, and then we can be guaranteed of a better future.

NBBF League Board
The league board should be more proactive in the task of organising a befitting league in Nigeria. The task seems daunting but the continuity and solid foundation can only be created if the NBBF league board can be able to fashioned a blueprint to restructure in terms of broadcasting, competent officiating, administrative structure, welfare, massive publicity and branding.

Way Forward
As at now, next season fixtures should have been drawn out against the commencement so that our league sponsor-DSTV can incorporate it into our programmes features and start to televise our matches live. Also there should regular training clinics for match officials to keep abreast of new rules. The league “rulesbook” should also be published and given to the major stakeholders to allow for uniformity to reign and avoid unnecessary officiating blunders.
In essence, the league board should be a fulcrum of ideas exchanges between the federation and the relevant stakeholders.