The team will take part in the Peak International Tournament in China where it will play Iran (August 22), Poland (August 24) and Montenegro (August 25) as part of its preparation for the World Cup that also serves as the 2020 Olympic Games qualifier.
The best African team at the World Cup will automatically qualify for the Olympics.
Due to the non-release of funds by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for the World Cup, the team expected to have left on Monday night so as to observe a day rest before playing Iran friendly will now arrive China on 22 August and play the friendly without the players resting.
Lamenting the implication of travelling a day behind schedule on the team on Tuesday, Coach Alex Nwora, observed that the players cannot give their best and the essence of the friendly might be lost.
“The team will arrive Chia and straight into the court to play Iran. This is unfair on the players. We may not achieve much,” he said at the Eko Hotel and Suits.
But the team manager, Musa Adamu, revealed that if not for the personal intervention of the president of the NBBF, the team might still be held up in Lagos.
According to Adamu, Kida, who returned to the country on Monday night from Dakar, Senegal where D’Tigress, beat Senegal 60- 55 to retain the Afrobasket title, had to intervene by borrowing money from friends and associates so that the team could leave for China and take part in the friendly games.
‘’Without him and the support of the federation, it would have been a different story altogether,” he said.
“I cannot tell you how much he borrowed because it’s not something we can start to calculate now. Just imagine what it means to get air tickets for 15 players and almost 10 backroom staff. The players and officials accommodation in China, feeding and other sundry expenses,” said Adamu.
“All the NBA players in the team cannot fly anything less than business class; they must be accommodated in a five star hotel alongside insurance coverage.
These are statutory NBA requirements for them to play in any championship. All these are what Kida has put in place. The government just abandoned the team and when the team’s wins now, the government will be the first to claim credit.”
Meanwhile, Kida said the federation had to source for loan to enable them to proceed to China, because the federation could not afford to allow Nigeria, the first country in the world to qualify for the World Cup to miss out or go to China as mere participants.
“The journey has not been easy due to delay in the release of funds by the Federal Government, however, the federation, once again has to ensure that we do what we have to do.
‘’We made it our responsibility to do what we could do to save Nigeria from global embarrassment of missing the World Cup,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would intervene and rescue the team and the federation financially, before the competition commences.
“We are trying to internally generate funds from sponsorships, but before then, the government has to support us.
‘’This is because the national teams are national property which must be catered for by the government,” he said.