The Nigerian government has rewarded players of the country’s female basketball team, D’Tigress with a cash donation of one million nairas each, for winning the 2017 Afro Basketball competition.
Similarly, their Coaches were rewarded with the sum of five hundred thousand nairas only.
President Muhammadu Buhari announced the cash rewards on Wednesday, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, before the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council.
President Buhari, who lauded the performance of the girls, directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun to immediately release the funds to the beneficiaries, who have made the country proud.
Earlier in their remarks, Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Solomon Dalong said congratulated President Buhari for being so lucky with sports, where the country has won lots of laurels during his time as Military Head of State and now that he is a democratically elected President.
Dalong commended the hard work of the girls and pledged government’s commitment to their course, as they prepare for the global competition, the Federation of International Basketball Association FIBA, in Spain later this year.
He said the government would continue to take steps that will restore the glory of sports in the country.
Speaking to Journalists, President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation, NBBF, Ahmadu Musa Kida said people who are passionate about the sport are currently at the helm of affairs and would continue to motivate the players who are very patriotic citizens of the country.
“For the players, the honor to wear the Nigerian jersey and represent millions of Nigerians was the main motivation, that helped them to win the trophy even before the financial reward they just got from our dear President,” he said.
Kida pledged that the team would again excel at the global event in Spain.
“In Spain, we are going to do excellently well, we are going to try and do much better than we did at the African championship, hoping that we will come out tops, within the first three in the world,” the NBBF President pledged.
One of the players, Aisha Mohammed said they will prepare very well and emerge victorious again in Spain.
The high point of the event was the presentation of the trophy, players and their officials to President Buhari.
The Nigerian team emerged African Champions on Sunday, August 27 in Bamako, Mali, after defeating the defending Champions Senegal by 65 points to 48.
– Timothy Choji I VON