The FIBA Africa Zone 3 U-18 Championship for Boys and Girls scheduled to commence from July 2 to July 9 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, will be held without Nigeria.
FIBA’s Administrative Secretary, Joe Apu, said in a statement on Friday in Lagos that the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) had withdrawn from the competition.
According to the statement, the competition is the qualifiers for the FIBA Africa U-18 Championships scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda in October. It said the winners and runners-up in Rwanda are to represent Africa at the 2017 World U-19 Championships for Men and Women.
“FIBA Africa Zone 3 was informed of Nigeria’s withdrawal via an email on June 27, five days to the commencement of the championships in Cotonou.
“No reason was given for the country’s withdrawal,’’ the statement said.
It added that the FIBA Africa Zone 3 President, retired Col. Sam Ahmedu, had confirmed the development.
The statement also quoted Ahmedu as saying: “It is indeed a sad development that Nigeria which is one of the top countries in the zone is withdrawing from the tournament.
“This will no doubt take some shine off the championships as it also denies Nigerian youth players the opportunity of competing with their peers at this level.
“It is coming on the heels of the recent visa imbroglio which denied the national U-17 girls team travelling to Spain for the World Championship.
“This means that Nigerian youths will not be participating in any international tournament this year,’’ the statement quoted Ahmedu as saying.
It noted that arrangements had been concluded for the Zone 3 qualifiers holding at the Halle des Arts, Cotonou, Republic of Benin on July 2.