An international basketball friendly match is on the card in Abuja between D’ Tigers of Nigeria and Venezuela. The match is a memorial in honour of the former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5, 2013 at the age of 58 years following a long battle with cancer.
The President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijjani Umar, revealed this last night during a courtesy visit by the executive committee of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Abuja chapter.
Umar said that the Director General of NSC, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye, had a meeting on Wednesday with officials of the Venezuelan Embassy in Abuja to promote bilateral sports partnership between the two countries and as well engage in a friendly to commemorate Chavez’ anniversary.
“We have agreed in principle to organise a match in Abuja in honour of Chavez who was a charismatic leader who stood out for his passion for his people. The Venezuelan Embassy will officially write to NSC in May for the match,” Umar said.
It will be a particular match of interest for Nigeria given that it was in Venezuela that D’Tigers secured a historic ticket for the basketball event at London 2012 Games in a play-off group involving Greece, Lithuania, Venezuela, Pueto Rico and Nigeria.
“The mere fact we qualified for the Olympics in Venezuela lives with me. The passion of the people for basketball is unbelievable. We lost our first match to the host team by two points but afterward showed great character to bag a sport for the Olympic Games,” Umar said.
Umar said The Tigers will build on their momentum in London and the recent Afro basketball Championship in Abidjan by focusing in a discernable manner a slot to the 2014 Olympics in Rio.
“We have appointed a technical director and are looking at the future. What we did in London and at the Afrobasketball are things in perspective. We are touch with all members of the team and will soon appoint our coaches and call the team together,” Umar said.
Source: This Day