In Nigeria, Basketball is the third most popular and most loved sports after Football and Boxing. It is a game that has gained more recognition and interest with the impressive accomplishments of the Nigeria basketball teams (Male & Female). Now, the basketball players in Nigeria are becoming superstars, thus impacting on the growth of basketball academies in the country.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), the national body in charge of male and female basketball, is one of the most successful sports body in Nigeria. Through its effective planning and organization, the MaleBasketball team has appeared in the FIBA African Championship 17 times, bagging one gold, three silver, and three bronze medals.
It is interesting to note that the government of Nigeria has recognized Basketball in Nigeria as much as they have Football. Like the football leagues, there are both male and female basketball league divisions in Nigeria which are well organized. Also, with sponsorship deals from Total Oil in 2018 worth 60 million Naira and another deal from Kwese (2017 – 2021) worth USD 1.2 million, the game is a visionary one.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is to basketball what FIFA is to Football. It is the height of international basketball competition in the world, and Nigeria has appeared in the FIBA world cup twice (1998 and 2006).
With all these beautiful achievements, you’ll have to ask yourself, when did basketball start in Nigeria? When was it established as a sport? Are there local basketball leagues in Nigeria? Are there basketball academies in Nigeria that groom future basketballers? Who are the current basketballers in the Nigeria basketball team?
- About Basketball
- The Origin of Basketball
- History of Basketball in Nigeria
- Nigeria Basketball Federation
- Nigeria Basketball Team
- Nigeria Men’s National Basketball Team Achievements
- African Games
- Commonwealth Games
- Nigeria Women’s National Basketball Team Achievements
- Meet the Current Male Basket Ball Players
- Meet the Current Female Basket Ball Players
- Basketball Academy in Nigeria
Basketball is an entertaining game involving two teams of five (5) players each. The ultimate aim of the game is to shoot the ball through the basket elevated by a pole. Also, the game is played with hands, unlike football which is played with the foot. Each netting (goal) in a basketball game earns the team two (2) points. However, if the team nets a ball from the three-point line – a line (region) quite far from the basket, the team gets three points.
Also, the basketball referee offers free throws when a teammate is fouled. If the teammate nets any of these throws, he/she earns the team a point. The points accumulate as the game progresses and the team with the highest points after the full forty-eight (48) minutes of play emerges as the winner of the game.
The Basketball game, of 48 minutes, is divided into four (4) quarters of 12 minutes each. However, within this duration of time, the referee is bound to stop the gameplay for fouls, ball out-of-bounds, timeouts, and a 15-minute halftime.
The positioning of the five players that make up a starting basketball team is the Centre, Power Forward, Small Forward, Shooting Guard, and Point Guard. Ideally, the tallest player in the team takes the Centre position while the tallest and strongest player takes the Power Forward position. An agile big man but maybe a short man takes the Small Forward position. The shortest players and best handlers in the team take the Shooting Guard and Point Guard position.
Playing the game involves walking or running with the ball by bouncing it or passing it to a teammate. The game also utilizes a couple of skills including, dribbling, dunking, ball stealing, and pass interception.
The Origin of Basketball
James Naismith invented the sport Basketball in the year 1891. Naismith was a Canadian gym teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts, the United States. He invented the sports as an activity to keep his gym class active on rainy days.
In the formative stages of the invention, Naismith rejected several ideas as either being too rough or not very appropriate for walled-in gymnasiums.
When he finally wrote the basic rules of basketball, he nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot (3.0 m) elevated track. This was your normal basket with a closed bottom. Hence, after a player nets the ball, the ball will be retrieved to commence gameplay.
Seeing that this slowed down the pace of the game, the bottom of the peach basket was removed. Also, at the initial stage, you play basketball with the normal soccer balls which the Association of Football provided. However, these balls were made with a set of laces which made the balls bounceable.
These balls, which were brown in color, were appropriate for the game until someone invented a lace-free ball that served better than the laced-ball. Naismith endorsed this development and over time, the game has grown to accommodate several other changes.
History of Basketball in Nigeria
Although Naismith invented basketball in 1891, nine players played the first basketball match in 1892 at the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York. As at this time, the British had stayed in Nigeria for 91 years and would make the country a British Protectorate in the next ten (10) years. No one had recorded the history of football in Nigeria then let alone basketball.
It was in the 1950s that Basketball reached Nigeria. Although the efforts of the Syrian/Lebanese national, Walid Zabadne, in training Nigerian Youths at the Syrian Club in Lagos as well as taking them to see international games earned him the “Father of BAsketball in Nigeria,” he didn’t introduce the game to Nigeria.
Col. Sam Ahmedu (rtd), President, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Africa Zone 3, and a frontline stakeholder of the Milo Basketball Championship spoke with Vanguard Nigeria on the Evolution and Progress of basketball in Nigeria.
According to Ahmed, the members of the Armed Forces establishment of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) who served in the Second World War introduced basketball to Nigeria. Voluntary agencies such as the missionaries of the YMCA also helped spread the game in the country alongside their message of Christianity.
However, it was in 1960, after Nigeria gained Independence from the British, that basketball became popular in the then four regions of Nigeria. The Lebanese and the Syrians, who had begun to flock into Nigeria by this time also assisted to popularize the sport. People like Walid Zabadne and Hassan Azem who were based in Lagos.
Nigeria held her first Regional competition in 1964 which was the year the Nigeria Amateur Basketball Association (NABBA) was formed.
Nigeria Basketball Federation
Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) became a legal body governing basketball in Nigeria in 1963, when Nigeria first became a republic. The organization is based in Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and Nigerian Olympic Commit (NOC) recognizes NBBF as the governing body of basketball in Nigeria.
The role of NBBF in the advancement of basketball in Nigeria includes the selection, training, and fielding of Nigeria team to compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competition. Thus, the Nigerian national basketball team, also known as the D’tigers for males and D’tigress for female teams, represent Nigeria in International competitions through the NBBF.
To ensure that Basketball in Nigeria grows and the Nigerian team renowned, MBBF creates enabling an environment for the team to excel and make the country proud. They achieve this by providing some national competitions including 5 x 5 and 3 x 3 basketball.
Furthermore, NBBF is responsible for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach/referees education, licensing and safety. It also oversees the Nigeria Premier league which houses forty-four (44) registered basketball clubs.
The current NBBF president is Engineer, Ahmadu Musa Kida. Although he was never a coach or player of the Nigeria basketball team, the Total E&P, Nigeria board director has an unquenchable fire for the game.
Since Kida’s election in 2017, the Nigeria basketball team came 5th at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and 8th in the Tenerife-Spain World Cup the same year. On the other hand, the Male team has qualified to the final stage of the 2017 – 2019 FIBA African Qualifiers.
Nigeria Basketball Team
The Nigeria National Basketball team is one of the best in Africa. The team ranks high in the FIBA Africa zone, along with Angola and Senegal. The FIBA Africa zone consists of 54 African nations.
Despite how competitive the FIBA world cup qualification is, both D’Tigers and D’Tigeress has qualified for the tournament in recent times. In 2006, D’Tigers appeared in FIBA world cup for the second time, after 1998.
Presently, D’Tigers has qualified the third time for the FIBA World Cup. This 2019 FIBA tournament, which the team recently qualified for, will take place in China in 2019. D’Tigeress, on the other hand, appeared at the FIBA women’s basketball world cup for the second time in 2018. This makes their second appearance, after 2006.
Also, Nigeria is the only African nation to ever qualify for the Summer Olympics through the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The team achieved this in 2012 when they beat Lithuania and Greece, some of the world’s best teams.
In 2015, the Nigeria National Basketball team won its first crown as the basketball champion of Africa.
The Nigeria Basketball team owes their spectacular performance and notable achievements to the experience and diversity of both the male and female team. Both teams are populated with foreign-based Nigerian basketball professionals as well as seasoned coaches.
Nigeria Men’s National Basketball Team Achievements
After qualifying for the FIBA World Cup by winning all their matches in the African qualification, D’Tigers ranks 33 in the World. This, and appearing in the FIBA World Cup for the 3rd time is a tremendous achievement for the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
In addition to this, here are the following achievements of the Nigeria Male Basketball Team:
Nigeria Women’s National Basketball Team Achievements
Like the Male Basketball team in Nigeria, the Female Team – D’Tigress, has also been doing spectacularly well at continental and intercontinental levels.
After the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, where D’Tigeress finished 8th, they climbed up to a rank of 19th in the world.
Here are other notable achievements of the Nigeria Female National Basketball team.
Meet the Current Male Basket Ball Players
In as much as the Nigeria Basketball Federation receives the praises for the achievements of the Nigeria basketball team, the players too need to receive some commendations.
Here are the names behind the current laudable performances of Nigeria in basketball. The following players below made the current roster for the 2019 China FIBA World Cup qualification.
|Ikenna IROEGBU||1||Point Guard|
|Michael UMEH||3||Point Guard||Ironi Nahariya, Israel|
|Ike DIOGU||6||Power Forward||Guangdong Southern Tigers|
|Obi EMEGANO||8||Shooting Guard|
|Braxton OBGUEZE||11||Point Guard|
|Ibe Abuchi AGU||12||Forward|
|Talib Zanna||13||Power Forward|
|Alade Aminu||14||Center||Hapoel Eilat B.C., Israel|
|Ekene IBEKWE||24||Center||CEZ Nymburk, Czech Republic|
|Ogoh ODAUDU||Assistant Coach 1|
Other Members of the team that makeup D’Tiger’s complete squad are:
Meet the Current Female Basket Ball Players
Just like the male Nigeria Basketball players, the female basketball players are also seasoned players playing in major clubs around the world. The current Nigeria-diaspora dominated female basketball team finished 8th in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Tenerife, Spain.
Here are names of the Nigeria players in D’Tigeress team that made the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2018.
|Ogoke Sarah||7||Shooting Guard||CB Vigo, Spain|
|Belarabe Aisha Mohammed||9||Forward||Bursas BSB, France|
|Elonu Adaora||11||Forward||Uni Girona CB, Spain|
|Edeferioka Elo Edema||12||Center||CB Vigo, Spain|
|Akhator Evelyn||7||Center||CB Avenida, Spain|
|Nyingifa Atonye||21||Power Forward||Porta XI Ensino, Spain|
|Kalu Ezinne||23||Point Guard||Landerneau BB, France|
|Imovbioh Sarah||24||Center||PEAC-Pecs, Hungary|
|Amukamara Promise||10||Point Guard||Charnay BB, France|
|Otis Hughley JR.||Coach|
|Peter Ahmedu||Assistant Coach 1|
|Shola Ogunade Shomala||Assistant Coach 2|
Other Members of the team that makeup D’Tigeress’ complete squad are:
Basketball Academy in Nigeria
With the rapid growth of Basketball in Nigeria, you should rightly expect the country to have a number of academies training Bball youngsters.
Indeed, there are several basketball academies in Nigeria and more are forming as the year progresses.
The hinderance to their popularity, however, is that many of them don’t have an online presence where they can display their activities.
However, we have compiled basketball academies in some of the major cities with either a website or a Facebook page. This is to enable you to connect with them from any part of the country – or the world. Click on any of the academies and you’ll be directed to their online page.
Basketball was invented in the year 1891 by Canadian International, James Naismith, and the first basketball game was played the following year in 1892. In Nigeria, however, Basketball came into existence around 1950, over a century after the game was invented. While the game was brought to the country by the Armed Forces of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF), Walid Zabadne actively promoted the game in Nigeria until it became nationally recognized.
Now, Basketball is the 3rd most popular game in Nigeria and the basketball organization is one of the strongest sports organization in Nigeria, recording a good number of accomplishments.
In the course of this research, information was gotten from the following web sources: