Masai Ujiri, the President of Toronto Raptors has spoken out about the decision by Nigeria’s government to withdraw its basketball teams from international competitions for two years.
Ujiri, who hails from Nigeria, penned an open letter to the federation, calling for the resignation of its officials so that the game can have a new lease of life in the country.
“The leaders of the basketball ecosystem in Nigeria continue to rob our youth of their present and future while tearing the entire basketball community apart — this needs to stop,” he wrote.
Last month, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced the withdrawal of their national teams from all international basketball competitions, with the Minister of Sports Sunday Dare, saying that the decision was due to crises that have characterised the country’s basketball in the recent past.
In response, the international basketball federation (FIBA) replaced Nigeria’s female basketball team, D’Tigress with Mali for the upcoming FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 that will take place in Belgrade, Serbia.
FIBA added that it will announce whether there will be more decisions related to Nigeria’s participation in other FIBA competitions and any potential disciplinary measures in this regard.
“The time for change is now,” Ujiri wrote.
“I know all athletes, leaders and stakeholders in African sport will not give up on Nigerian basketball, and we will not give up on the youth. It’s time for us to move forward. We need a new slate and a new narrative. To do this, all of the leaders that have held on to the realms of the Nigerian Basketball Federation for the past several years must all step down,” He added