President of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Tijjani Umar has said the body was prepared to start both Men’s and the Zenith Women Basketball Leagues this month after concluding all contractual agreements with sponsors.
The NBBF President, who spoke ahead of the federation’s board meeting in Abuja at the weekend said Zenith Bank has released the N35million sponsorship money for the Women league.
Umar also said the new deal for the Men’s league which had been concluded, will see the NBBF bagging over $2 million for the 2017 season alone against the $1.5 million for four years in the previous deal.
He said the Zenith Women league will begin on 10th April 2017 in Abuja, while the Men’s Premiership League is scheduled to dunk off on 13th April, 2017 in Lagos State.
While disclosing that the NBBF board was meeting to finalize preparation for the start of the two leagues, Umar noted that “we have received the cheque from Zenith Bank for the women league. It is N35 million for this year but it will increase steadily for the next three years.”
He said 18 teams will compete for honors in the Zenith League this season but added that the format will change next season.
“We are going to have two female leagues next season; the Women Premiership League and the National Division 1 league comprising of 12 teams each,” he said. “This will give the players more playing time and it will be easy for us to promote and demote teams just as it is in the men’s leagues.”
Speaking on the Men’s premiership league, the NBBF President said the new title sponsors will be announced before the start of the season.
He also disclosed that the league will be played in four centers across the country- Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Kaduna but added that Port Harcourt may be included later on.