Wheelchair Basketball Federation to introduce National League, create new opportunities

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Wheelchair Basketball Federation of Nigeria (WBFN) is targeting rapid growth for the sport through the introduction of National League, coupled with adequate capacity building and welfare.

The President of the Federation, Oluwaseyi Johnson, while briefing newsmen today, Wednesday February 21, 2024, on the sideline of the ongoing national technical workshop for coaches and officials at the Conference Room of the Kwara State Sports Commission in Ilorin added that positive changes will begin to happen soon.

“We inherited a dead Federation, and we are trying to resuscitate it, just like the ongoing workshop. It’s been a long time that we have the workshop, and we are bringing it up so that we can put ourselves up to speed, for future references.

“The workshop is a precusor to our new agenda, which is the Wheelchair Basketball League. We will be introducing Wheelchair Basketball National League, and we are starting very soon. The officials that are participating in this workshop will be the referees and officials to handle the league. The League will be supported by BetKing.

Johnson, who is also the Chairman, International Wheelchair Basketball, Africa, West African Region averred that the dream of his board was to operate independently, devoid of any financial issue.

“Before we announce any tournament, there must be cash backing that will see us through the competition. What we need now to develop the sport is capacity building and welfare of players through competitions.

He added that in the next three months, the Federation will announce international competitions, adding that the Federation is working on acquiring equipment to aid the development of the Wheelchair Basketball.

Also complementing the President on provision of equipment, the Resource Person, Popoola Babatunde confirmed that the main challenge the Federation is facing is the issue of Wheelchairs.

“The main challenge we are having now is Wheelchair basketball chairs, and the Federation is doing everything possible to take care of it. The chairs are very expensive, but very soon, the problem will be solved.

Babatunde said that the essence of the workshop was to prepare the technical officials for programmes ahead in the year, as the Federation is planning a strong foundation for the growth of the sport.

“We need to update ourselves on new rules and how to run games as Referees, Table Officials, Technical Commissioners and Coaches. The Federation is doing everything possible to lift the sport.

“Even as we plan to hold the workshop twice a year, what’s important is, it will be exercise in futility if we have workshops like this and we don’t have competitions to fully assess the officials during games. This is a classroom setting, and we would need to see how they apply what they have learnt technically”, he added.

The workshop ends tomorrow Thursday, February 22, 2024.

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