Ayo Bakare

Bakare: New FIBA Competition System Great For African Basketball

Former Nigeria head coach Ayo Bakare is confident that FIBA's new competition system can transform African basketball for‎ good.

The new system will see national teams play home and away games in order to qualify for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Following that staging of FIBA's flagship event, a 15-month qualification period consisting of four windows will begin for the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket Cup.

Bakare who led D'Tigers to her Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games feels the sport will be able to grow a lot more across the region with the implementation of the new competition system, which comes into effect in 2017.

"This will lead to far greater marketing opportunities for the national teams since it will be easier to attract private sector funding for a team which plays at home and sponsors can build adverts and promotions around these home events," the 55-year-old told FIBA.com

"The quality of each country's local league will improve dramatically as international match-ups are now witnessed first-hand by local developing players and are no longer restricted to the purview of only those countries who host the AfroBasket Finals,"

"The present system allows national federations to have a long period of relative inactivity, followed by a short burst of intense activity but only once every two years. 

"Yes, the 'home and away' structure elongates the participation period helping secure more interest for sponsors and fans. 

But it also helps the development of players and coaches as they now have to prepare for participation over several months as opposed to a single week every two years. 

"Most of the countries' national federation members (as presently constituted), are unpaid volunteers and it may be unfair to demand such 'full-time' commitment from some of them, especially if the timing clashes with their primary source of income.

"But maybe the new money that is expected to come into the game as a result of the new system will empower national federation to consider remuneration for members or in the alternative, attracting true sports professionals to administer their sports."

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