Members of Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, threatened to boycott the FIBA World Cup qualifiers in Serbia if Nigerian sports authorities refused to pay their unpaid financial rights.
The team owes exceptional bonuses and compensation since the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Tenerife, Spain, and efforts to secure full payment have been unsuccessful, leaving players and officials frustrated.
Although in October 2021, the Sports Ministry attempted to resolve the dispute between the players and the former Nigerian Basketball Federation board of directors headed by Ahmadu Musa Kida over bonuses and money. donated by Nigerian organizations ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. , the players rejected the proposal for partial payment of debts owed to them, insisting on collecting all their fees.
Following sports authorities’ failure to resolve the issue, the team in a New Year’s message to fans threatened not to make the World Cup qualifiers in Serbia if the unpaid allowances and bonuses were not fully paid to players and officials. .
The team said: “Since the hearing concluded in early November, no line of communication or response has been received by D’Tigress from the House, Sports Ministry or Musa Kida regarding debt repayment.
“More than seven weeks have passed since former NBBF chairman Kida’s decision to settle the debt of D’Tigress players and officials, while the ministry completes the balance of the grant to the Olympic training, but no commitment.
“We are sending a reminder to everyone involved, including the Sports Ministry, Musa Kida, the House of Representatives and FIBA regarding these debts.
“Adaora Elonu, our representative, can be a communication gateway. However, no official communication has been established through her either.
“With the FIBA World Cup qualifying approaching in Serbia, we are holding on and will not be rushed into the competition at the last minute.”
Recall that in October 2021, a SaharaReporters report revealed how officials from the Sports Ministry had not distributed $ 100,000 (N41.1 million) in allowances given by three banks to D’Tigress for their participation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
A team member revealed that their stipends, bonuses and training bursaries worth $ 4,900 had also not been paid.
She said: “The last time we checked some of our training allowances, bonuses and scholarships weren’t paid. All of our account numbers have been submitted but still no discount. Donations made by banks for players, officials, volunteers’ salaries, etc. since 2018.
“They forget that we all have a relationship and communicate; $ 500 each 2018 FIBA World Cup for players and officials; $ 1,000 each for finishing the last 8 of the FIBA World Cup; $ 1,000 each bonus for winning the AfroBasket in Senegal for players and officials 2019.
“$ 300 to $ 400 for each balance of Mozambique’s Olympic qualifying allowance, was to be paid $ 100 per day; $ 2,000 per Tokyo Olympics training grant balance, players only. The $ 100,000 donated by three Nigerian banks to all the players and officials who made the qualification of D’Tigress Olympics possible. The men also received $ 100,000, the total was $ 200,000.
“Miscellaneous expenses of players and officials; the full breakdown has been submitted to the outgoing basketball president and the honorable minister, Sunday Dare.
“With all due respect to the management of the association, the Presidency, the Ministry and the administration of the old and new NBBF, if these sums are not paid before the next qualifying match of the next tournament in February 2022, FIBA World Cup, not all of the D’Tigress team will show up at camp, we all say that as one unit and one voice.