The 2016 FIBA U-17 World Championship will dunk off today (Wednesday) in Spain without Nigeria’s women’s team, D’Tigresses, following the refusal of the Spanish Embassy in Lagos to give the team travelling visas.
As at Tuesday night the Embassy officials offered no explanation for their action although paucity of funds was also stated to be a factor in the shoddy travelling arrangements.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF had presented every document ranging from travelling insurance, birth certificates, sworn affidavits by the players parents which the Foreign Affairs ministry endorsed since they are minors as demanded by the embassy but yet the Spaniards denied them visas.
Surprisingly the NBBF all through was working with the sport’s world body FIBA and the Local Organising Committee on ground in Spain but in spite of all these, the Spanish Embassy which had promised to issue the visa, started shifting grounds from Thursday to Friday last week before they finally returned the players passports to the Protocol officer of the Youth and Sports ministry without visas on them.
Meanwhile the players and their coaches who were aware of the turn of events have been addressed by the NBBF president, Tijjani Umar Monday evening and were to return to their various homes.
“We are however, going to invite most of them for the Africa U-18 Championship holding later this year,” Umar assured.
The U-17 girls tutored by Coach Adeka Daudu qualified from the African Championship held in Madagascar last year and were drawn in Group A with Canada, Latvia and Japan for the World Championship.
Mali in Group D are other African representatives and will play Brazil, Spain and Portugal.