By Eric Olusesan
Mr Sunday Akin Dare, the minister of Youth and Sports Development has expressed his joy with the return of the Nigeria Basketball Federation(NBBF) Premier League.
The NBBF Premier League which is the top flight league for elite clubs in the country, played across two conferences, the Atlantic Conference(for Southern teams) and the Savannah Conference(for Northern teams).
The league has been in the doldrums for about three years owing to some court injunctions that have now been dismissed.
The Sports Minister, who graced the first game of the new season in Abuja on Wednesday, said “I am happy to be here to grace the first game night of the season as a form of my identifying with these young stars who love the game of basketball,” Dare said.
The caretaker chairman of the Nigeria Basketball Federation(NBBF), Engineer Musa Kida praised the Sports Minister, he said, “We are happy with the return of the Premier League, and are grateful to the Sports Minister for gracing the first day of competition in Abuja. We are keying into the vision that will see us make impact on the international, continental and domestic scenes.
“The Sports Minister wants about 109 basketball courts in Nigeria, at least a court in each senatorial district. We hope to work with him to make this dream a reality. That explains why this return of the premier league is crucial.
“I also appreciate all those on the NBBF board who dug in, worked hard and tirelessly with their time and financial resources to make this a reality.”
The games of the NBBF Premier League will be played in Abuja(Savannah Conference) and Akure(Atlantic Conference). About twenty teams are expected to be part of it across both conferences.
The regular season will last about a week leading to a playoffs, the Final Eight, that will feature the best four teams in each conference. The playoffs will hold in Lagos at the end of the month.
The champions of the Final Eight will represent Nigeria at the Basketball Africa League(BAL), a continental tournament that is the product of the collaboration between the National Basketball Association(NBA) and the Federation of International Basketball Associations(FIBA).