ABUJA (FIBA Africa Championship for Women) - The Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF has announced the appointment of proprietor and head coach of Ebun Comets basketball club as Head Coach of the nation’s senior women national team, Tigress.
The announcement was made Tuesday by the president of the NBBF, Tijjani Umar, says the former coach of the Nigeria senior Men team has agreed to come out of his retirement to lead the country quest for a place in Madagascar later in the year.
The NBBF boss says the choice of Coach Bakare as the Tigress head coach is based on his wealth of experience being the first coach to land Nigeria its first World Championship ticket in 1997 when he guided the Men senior national team to a second place outing in Dakar, Senegal.
Coach Bakare alongside Sanni Ahmed qualified Nigeria men’s team to the Libya 2009 Afrobasket from the FIBA Africa Zone-III qualifiers held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire last year before the Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State-born tactician called it quit with national team duties.
Coach Bakare who will be assisted by coaches Scott Nnaji of the Nigeria Customs basketball team and Andrew Isokpehi of Sunshine Angels basketball club of Akure are saddled with the task of qualifying Nigeria for the 21st FIBA Africa Championship for Women billed for Madagascar in October this year.
The FIBA Africa Zone-III qualifiers to be hosted by Nigeria, will involve the women national teams of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger Republic and Liberia in late August through early September in Lagos.
The NBBF President says the appointment of the Coach Bakare led coaching crew is in line with the federation resolve to localize its choice of appointment as envisage by the board.
“We are mindful of the fact that Coach Ayo Bakare retirement but we consider him appropriate to lead our Women national team and we want to sincerely thank him for accepting to come out of retirement for the sake of our country.
“His appointment as the head of the technical crew of our women national team is borne out of the fact that he is very experience and conversant with Africa basketball at all levels.
“The first and most important of the brief given to them (coaches) is to qualify the team for the 21st FIBA Africa Championship from the Zone-III elimination which Nigeria is hosting, then be in-charge to the championship proper in Madagascar and will also be retained should Nigeria pick one of the two ticket to the 2010 FIBA World Championship slated for the Czech Republic, declared Umar.
By Olusegun Ikuesan
photo Getty Images