Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, on Thursday on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari held a send off ceremony of the country’s women’s basketball team, D’Tigress as they travel for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Tenerife, Spain.
He charged the team to compete clean and fair when they start their adventure in Spain.
“It is the belief of this government that for every competition, you should compete clean and fair.
“The country is standing solidly behind you. We are looking out for you with hope that with hard work, you can bring the trophy home.”
Dalung said that the Ministry under his watch is giving equal opportunities to all sports men and women to excel at the grassroots and international stage.
“We are deliberately looking toward the development of female sports and we believe that once we are able to equitably tackle the imbalance between the men’s football, women’s football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, our women will do us proud because they have less of the controversies compared to the men.”
The Minister thanked the players for their dedication and willingness to heed the clarion call to represent Nigeria in Spain.
“I want to thank you sincerely for honouring the invitation to come to camp, for considering service to your country as a priority. You are a team that is very compact, driven by common interest and also determined.
“I believe that the sky will be the limit of this team”, he continued.
In her response, the team’s captain, Adaora Elonu promised that D’Tigress will do their best to give a good representation of the country who will be playing at the competition as African Champions.
Elonu thanked the NBBF President, Musa Kida for ensuring the team’s early call to camp and early preparations to stand a chance of competing seriously at the world cup.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation President who was represented by the Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade thanked the Minister for his support since they were sworn in in 2017.
“We cannot thank you enough for your level of support to the board. You have shown yourself to be a good and dependable father. Like Oliver Twist, we still ask for more.”
At the ceremony were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Olusade Adesola, the President, Nigeria Olympic Committee Habu Gumel and other staff of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.