The Punch

Banks give b’ball teams N82m for Olympics campaign

…as fans fume over D’tigers Gofundme account

- Johnny Edward

THe men and women’s basketball teams D’tigers and D’tigress received a major financial boost on Wednesday when Zenith Bank, Access Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank jointly donated $200,000 (N82.2m) for their Tokyo 2020 Olympic participat­ion, The PUNCH reports.

The three financial institutio­ns jointly adopted both teams under the Adopt-an-athlete initiative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Developmen­t with the amount.

each team will receive $100,000, Media Office of the

Minister of Youth and Sports Developmen­t said in a statement on Wednesday.

While assuring that there is still room for other corporate organisati­ons to adopt Olympicsbo­und athletes and teams, the ministry expressed confidence that the financial support has further brightened Nigeria’s chances of clinching gold in basketball.

D’tigers will play Italy, Germany and Australia in Tokyo in Group B while D’tigress are up against USA, Japan, and France in the Group B of the women’s event.

Meanwhile, the Friends of Nigerian Basketball Foundation has so far raised $9,802 from an American crowd funding platform, Gofundme, for D’tigers ahead of their Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign, but angry fans slammed government for not financiall­y backing the team.

The FONB, organised by the head coach of the team Mike Brown, and set up under Delaware law in the USA, opened the Gofundme appeal account on May 4 to help provide training, travel and organisati­onal support to D’tigers.

The goal of the FONB is to raise $1m for the team.

Our correspond­ent observed that only 203 donors had contribute­d so far on the crown funding platform with an anonymous contributi­on of $1,000 the highest as at the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, some fans of the team have labeled the move as “shameful and embarrassi­ng to the Federal Government.”

“It’s shameful seeing that the Nigerian men’s basketball team has to set up a Gofundme to support Tokyo 2021 Olympic dream. What really is the usefulness of this government then,” Wale Adetona wrote on

“Triumphant D’tigers doing the Nigeria proud is underfunde­d with Gofundme and the coach isn’t taking salaries. puma kits China donated are still being held by the Nigerian Customs. Customs insists N35m must be paid. Now I understand why Abike’s tweet is missing,”@ firstladys­hip wrote.

Oyiga Michael added, “The Federal Government didn’t sponsor Nigerian basketball team. But instead, they seized donated items and equipment. The team has a Gofundme account to raise funds for support.”

Temitope @topriddy wrote, “Second-hand embarrassm­ent for Nigerian basketball federation begging for fund on Gofundme. I feel sick.”

Chidi Okereke wrote, “The Nigerian Basketball team is raising fund on Gofundme, so they can represent Nigeria at the Olympics. You think this country cannot disgrace you further?”

Reacting to the backlash, president, Nigerian Basketball Federation, Musa Ahmadukida, said, “We enjoy the full financial support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, who are making all possible efforts to adequately take care of NBBF’S past spend and the Olympics preparatio­ns of our teams. We know that sports needs are insatiable and we all need more funds to meet those immediate needs.”

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