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African Basketball League Response To The NBBF Publication

Attention has been drawn to the publication of the NBBF addressing the launch of the African Basketball League (ABL) games at the Landmark Arena in Lagos Nigeria. The ABL is a legally registered entity in Mauritius as Africa Basketball League Mauritius Limited doing business in Nigeria as the Africa Sports and Entertainment Management Company (ASEMC). It is constituted of six franchises with three franchises Lagos Warriors, Lagos Islanders and Lagos Stallions all based in Nigeria and Dakar Rapids in Senegal, Abidjan Rapids from Cote D’Ivoire, and Libreville Izobe based in Gabon.
The league launched with rousing success and fanfare with games on March 5th between the Lagos Stallions and the Dakar Rapids and March 6th between Lagos Warriors and the Abidjan Ramblers. The games were highly entertaining and captivating with high level of basketball and entertainment from musical performances to high impact dance routines from cheerleaders. Fathers, mothers, kids, celebrities, couples, Lagos state Sports commissioner, Lagos State Basketball Federation Chairman, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Senator Ben Bruce, Jay Jay Okocha and many more were in attendance and had a great time.

The ABL is here to stay as the public demand far outweighs NBBF’s desire to stop and hinder the progress and development of basketball in Nigeria and in Africa. The ABL has been able to achieve in one weekend what the NBBF has never achieved in its history of ‘governing’ basketball.

The ABL’s purpose is to advance the development of basketball through private sector investment to create jobs for the youth of Nigeria and Africa. Nigerian and African youth need jobs. They need opportunities and a viable platform to display and nurture their God-given talent. With the decline of oil prices, the need to diversify the economy is critical to Nigeria’s job creation for the youth. The ecosystem of jobs that basketball and sports creates are enormous. Job opportunities through basketball include the players, administrators, coaches, officials, trainers, sports medicine, sports tourism, manufacturing, merchandising and the list goes on and on.

The jobs created by ABL in its short existence is already very significant. The salaries of the players, coaches, administrators, performance and referee compensation is way more than what the NBBF has ever paid or owing it players and coaches of its domestic leagues. The NBBF needs the ABL to partner with them to administer basketball in a more professional and sustainable manner with less dependence on government funding.

Just like the success the entertainment industry has had in Nigeria and Africa over the last few years due to private sector investment in talent identification and development. This is the same investment the ABL is making in the development of basketball in Africa and is already making major progress which is making the NBBF and other federations were ABL franchises very uncomfortable. The ABL expects the same growth in basketball in Africa with its investment in the development of the game just like is being seen in the music and film industry.

The reaction of the NBBF is very appalling and disturbing. It also shows the lack of understanding by its leaders to understand their responsibility to add value to Nigeria through basketball. The ABL met with the NBBF on several occasions to discuss collaborating to jointly develop this great game, source of entertainment and economic empowerment. The NBBF expressed interest but responded that it wanted to see how we perform before making any concrete collaborations with the abl. The ABL has demonstrated that it for real. ABL with the quality of basketball, the ABL launched this past weekend at the Landmark Center in Victoria Island Lagos, the NBBF should be ecstatic to partner with the ABL.

The ABL also met with FIBA Africa and its secretary general and was given the go-ahead to launch a ‘test’ inaugural season, which is what the ABL has done very successfully the government cannot fund sports alone in Nigeria or any other country. This burden of this should be borne in partnership with investment from the private sector to develop leagues as purely a business venture with profitability as its goal for sustainability.

This lack of the private sector in administration and development of sports in Nigeria has been the bane of failure or non-existence of any viable sports leagues in Nigeria and across most of Africa. The Barclays Premier League (BPL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are all private leagues with huge global success. The ABL has the opportunity to build the best basketball league in Africa that will support the development of the domestic leagues through investment. The goal of the ABL is to have viable and profitable franchises in major African cities across Africa that will foster infrastructure development, job creation and tourism across franchise cities to boost trade and investment amongst them. The ABL is ready to support the NBBF and its domestic league.

The ABL is not illegal but a legally registered African company. The NBBF has no right to make that statement and ABL will seek legal recourse for that statement. All the sponsors and partners of the ABL have already started getting value from the ABL with the great games that were played this weekend and they will continue to support the ABL. We urge the public to come out to the next game on Thursday March 10th and see what the NBBF is trying to stop. The NBBF’s current position is ECONOMIC SABOTAGE and their position must be changed from one of destruction of opportunity to one of support of progress and advancement of basketball in Nigeria and Africa. The ABL is ready for amicable resolution of this and also ready for legal resolution if the NBBF want to go that

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