Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) league champions Kano Pillars face a last ditch move to make the Fiba Africa Champions Cup for Men (ACCM).
Management of the Kano State-owned basketball club are currently entangled in a difficult scenario concerning the release of funds that will enable it embark on the trip to Tunis, Tunisia, venue for the 29th edition of the Fiba ACCM. The State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso- a presidential aspirant at the ongoing 3rd APC National Convention- is understandably not settled to sign the documents for the required funds.
Pillars may face serious sanctions from Africa basketball’s governing body if they fail to make it to Tunis.
“We want to appeal to His Excellency who has been very good to us since he came to power in 2011 by giving us the needed support as a team,” a top source from the three-time Nigerian champions is quoted as saying of afrobasket.com.
“The wild-card letter from FIBA Africa came a little late but that is not an excuse for us not to be in Tunis and they (FIBA Africa) believed in our ability to help raise the stake that is why they went ahead to include us in the draw even when we are not on ground.”
The reigning DSTV Premier Basketball League (PBL) champions were awarded a wild-card after failing to claim automatic qualification from the Fiba Africa Zone-3 elimination rounds held in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso in October. The recognition came as a result of its performance in previous championship.
Pillars have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts, Club Africain of Tunisia, Libolo of Angola, Sporting Club of Egypt, Malabo Kings of Equatorial Guinea and BCM of Mayotte in the final rounds of the championship, which runs from December 12 through 22.
“It will be painful if eventually we could not make the trip as the players are ready to take their pride of place by correcting the team’s inability to qualify directly for the final round,” the source stressed.
“We fear the back-latch Kano Pillars none participation might cause and the resultant sanctions that may follow if not directly against us as a club but indirectly to other clubs who might be in the same position as Pillars in future championship.
“All we need do is communicate to the organizers in Tunis that we might be arriving late but we are prepared and ready to join Mark Mentors basketball club to make Nigeria proud.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s other representative Mark Mentors travelled out of the country on Tuesday night aboard Emirate Airline en route Dubai.
Abuja-based Mark Mentors qualified as runners-up to Abidjan Basket Club of Cote d’Ivoire in the Fiba Africa Zone-3 qualifiers in Burkina Faso.