Players of Rivers Hoopers Basketball team Friday, protested to the Rivers State Government House demanding the release of funds to enable them take part in the inaugural Basketball Africa League scheduled to hold in Kigali, Rwanda.
The tournament is expected to commence on May 16, 2021, at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, with twelve teams across Africa.
Speaking during the protest, the vice captain of Rivers Hoopers, Ronald Alalino appealed to the state Governor, Nyesom Wike to intervene in the matter, saying the team cannot rely on the ministry of Sports to provide funding for them to make the trip to Rwanda.
Alalibo said the competition will provide a platform for bigger international leagues to sign them up.
In his words, “We have been practicing since February, in order for us to make this journey. Moves have been made to see if we can get funds from the state government but as it is now, the only information is within the commissioner for sports but I don’t t think the governor, being the Pillar of Sports Africa will be aware that this kind of thing is happening and not make funds available”.
“So it’s as if nothing is happening for us because we have been asking questions as players. This particular tournament is an opportunity for everybody on the team.
“We have family men and bread winners so whatever thing that comes out of this tournament is a good thing for everybody.
“It’s like a tournament where you have the best of the best coming out, so you may have offers to play in a bigger spheres than Nigeria”.
Alalibo further disclosed that they had been at the state ministry of sports to seek audience but to no avail, prompting them to march to the government House.
The Basketball Africa League is organized by FIBA and the NBA to expand the game of Basketball in Africa.