Daily Champion (Lagos)

Nigeria: Canada 2007

Lagos — Nigeria senior men national team, D'Tigers will jet out to Angola venue of the 24th FIBA Africa Championship (African Cup of Nations) starting Wednesday with host taking on minnows, Rwanda in the opening game at the 6,873 capacity Cidadela Pavilion in Luanda.

Nigeria, Africa's second most ranked team is drawn in group-C alongside Central Africa Republic, DR Congo and Liberia in the city of Huambo which use to be the most populated Province in Angola before the break out of civil war which ravaged the Southern Africa country for several years.

Nigeria will play her first group game against Liberia on Friday, August 17, the team whose list remain unknown will battle its toughest opponent in the group, Central Africa Republic on August 18 and round-off the battle for a quarter-final ticket against DR Congo on Sunday, August 19.

Revealing the departure date of the team Saturday, Francis Gbiri, the Secretary General of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF says arrangement have been concluded to have the team jet out on Monday (today) so as to have enough time to rest before its first game.

The federation it was gathered has been at logger head with the nation's apex sports decision making organ, the National Sports Commission, NSC over the release of fund for the championship which serves as 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifiers.

A top member of the NBBF who did not want his name in print confirm late Friday that the NSC has finally succumbed to the federation demand by agreeing to release the necessary fund for the team to take part of the championship and avoid being sanctioned by the continental (FIBA Africa) and the world (FIBA) basketball ruling bodies which is $25, 000 fine and a possible ban of four years.

The board, however, decried the situation whereby the NSC is not committed to the development and support for other sports in Nigeria other than football by leaving the activities of attending international sporting events to the sole responsibility of the federations which run against the spirit of equity, justice and fair play.

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