The 2016 FIBA U-17 World Championship will dunk off on Wednesday (today) in Spain without Nigeria’s team following the refusal of the Spanish Embassy in Lagos to give the team travelling visas. Shockingly too, the Embassy officials offered no explanation for their action.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation had presented every document ranging from travelling insurance, birth certificates, and sworn affidavits by the players’ parents, which the Foreign Affairs ministry endorsed, since they are minors as demanded by the embassy but yet the Spaniards denied them visas.
Surprisingly, the NBBF all through was working with the sport’s world body FIBA and the Local Organising Committee on ground in Spain but in spite of all these, the Spanish Embassy which had promised to issue the visas, started shifting grounds from Thursday to Friday last week before they finally returned the players’ passports to the Protocol Officer of the Youth and Sports ministry without visas on them.
Meanwhile, the players and their coaches, who were aware of the action of the Spanish Embassy, were addressed by the NBBF president, Tijjani Umar, on Tuesday evening and would be released to return to their various homes today.
“We are however, going to invite most of them for the Africa U-18 Championship holding later this year,” Umar said.
The U-17 girls tutored by coach Adeka Daudu qualified from the African Championship held in Madagascar last year and were drawn in Group A with Canada, Latvia and Japan for the World Championship.