Nigeria: Enthusiasts Want More Fans, TV Cast for Basketball

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In spite of the successes recorded by the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) in the out-going year, the sport's enthusiasts are asking for more in 2010.

Some of those who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday said they acknowledged the achievements but wanted improved crowds at match venues next year and more TV broadcasting of the game.

They also want the federation's board, led by Tijjani Umar, to continue featuring national league matches on television, which MultiChoice, the sponsor of the male category, started this year.

Some of the players in the league said 2009 was better than previous years, adding: "We wish there will be more spectators to cheer us during competitions." They also prayed that government could invest more on the game like it did in football.

Ijeoma Uchendu of First Deepwater Basketball Club, Lagos, said there was need for NBBF to create more awareness about the game so that it would be attractive to the public. "It is an indoor sport and many really don't see it played, so there is a need to do road shows to popularise the game," she said.

Funmi Ojelabi of First Bank Basketball Club, Lagos, noted that as much as the government invested in sports development, there was a need for re-branding the game. "Re-branding basketball in the country would attract fans and sponsors and in turn generate fund for its development," Ojelabi said.

Coaches who spoke with NAN showered encomiums on the leadership of the NBBF for ensuring that the male and female leagues were held. They noted that the NBBF management had only six months to accomplish that and also ensured Nigeria's participation in international championships at national and club levels.

The men's league attracted about N64 million in sponsorships, while the women had about N5 million.

Daily Trust