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The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has said in Abuja that it was still committed to establishing a functional female league competition aimed at developing and nurturing players.
Mr Gyang Buba, the President of the federation, made the remark at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Zenith Bank Female Basketball League, holding at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Abuja National Stadium.
He said that NBBF had always been worried by its reliance on foreign-based players for national teams adding "it is our aspiration to develop and nurture a functional domestic league”.
"Whenever we prepare for or go out for international competitions, we have always wondered at the fact that we have to rely on our foreign-based players,” Buba said.
"But, soon we hope that what we are having now will develop into a regular league that will throw up players that can always do the country proud,” he added.
The NBBF president said the federation was already discussing with Zenith Bank Plc and other sponsors and was hopeful that success would be recorded soon.
He assured the players that NBBF would always give consideration to their welfare, by ensuring that the league ‘’becomes better organised’’.
"It is our belief that this sponsorship will grow from year to year,’’ Buba, who is the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, said.
Mr Umar Ahmed, Zenith Bank’s Deputy General Manager, who represented the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr Jim Ovia, noted that the league had grown since inception.
"What started on a low note a few years ago with a few teams has now blossomed into a big one with 10 teams. We are happy with it and the NBBF.
"But beyond this, we hope it will provide our ladies the platform to express themselves in the sport and excel in their chosen field,” he said.
The competition reports that competition in the first circuit of the league began with five games played on the opening day, while five games would be played daily till Saturday, April 5.
In the games played on Friday, Dolphins of Lagos earned the biggest win with an 82-19 routing
of Plateau Rocks of Jos, while Sunshine Angels beat AHIP of Kano 49-29.
Also, defending champions, First Bank Basketball Team of Lagos beat FCT City Angels 85-30, while Delta Force beat Nigeria Immigration 60-40.
Ten clubs are taking part in the competition.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS