Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has promised that the ministry will assist Nigeria’s men and women’s basketball teams before and during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next year.
It’s the first time an African country would have the men and women’s basketball team at the Olympics.
D’Tigers, the men’s senior basketball team, booked qualification for the Olympics through the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, while D’Tigress qualified for the games via the FIBA Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in Serbia in February.
The leadership of the Nigeria Basketball Federation led by Musa Ahmadu-Kida had earlier announced that the federation needed about $4m to adequately prepare and compete at the basketball events of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“We’ve been working with the basketball team in the last 10 months to make sure we get the requisite funding and support for them,” Dare told journalists in Lagos on Friday.
“We know how much they need, we’ve sat down with them to say look, ‘having come this far, you must not let up.’ We have a budget for them and government will support our basketball team with the budget that will make them perform at the Olympics.
“The government is not waiting for private funding when it comes to basketball. We’re not doing football at the Olympics this time, so we’ll find a way to marshall the resources that would have gone for football and put it at the disposal of basketball.
“We are focused on making sure that basketball gets the support it needs.”
The Olympics is set to hold from July 23 to August 8, 2021 on Tokyo.