D’Tigress reject sports ministry’s part-payment offer

Nigeria’s women’s national basketball team D’Tigress say they would not accept the offer by the ministry of sports and youth development to be paid partly.

The sports ministry had moved on Wednesday to resolve the crisis between the three-time AfroBasket champions and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) following the team’s threats to boycott the 2022 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

The ministry had in a statement assured that funds were “intact in the NBBF’s official domiciliary account domiciled with the CBN.”

However, in a video posted to YouTube, D’Tigress outlined the injustices they have been subjected to by the basketball body and the sports ministry. According to them, they were owed $197,180.

A breakdown of the amount shows $73,180 is owed to the team by the NBBF, $24,000 by the ministry for the Tokyo Olympics grant, and $100,000 from donations from three banks in Nigeria.

In a statement posted to Instagram, the team rejected the ministry’s offer saying that every playing and non-playing staff, including the vendors who have been with the team since the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup has to be paid.

The statement read, “It is incredibly sad that we had to take these measures for things we shouldn’t fight for, for it to be addressed. We are glad we have the support of our fans, friends, family, pundits and some leadership around the world to bring awareness to what has plagued not only Nigerian sports but Africa in general.

“We thank the Ministry for their swift response but respectfully decline part payment of monies owed to every member of D’Tigress since 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup (players, officials, behind the scenes staff, vendors etc.). We are a team and will leave no one behind. The Ministry is the governing body of Nigerian sports and needs to hold NBBF former president accountable or take responsibility.”

D’Tigress, who recently won the FIBA AfroBasket title for the third time in a row, also urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s special advisers to bring the matter to the president’s notice.

The team also expressed their readiness for negotiation.