President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday announced cash gifts of N1 million each for members of the national female basketball team, D’Tigress, who won the 2017 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket tournament in Mali and qualified for the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.
He also gave the team’s officials N500, 000 each.
Buhari made the announcement while hosting the victorious players before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to ensure the money is released to the players and the officials immediately.
The President assured the team of Federal Government’s support to ensure that they excel against other top competitors in Spain.
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Solomon Dalung, attributed the team’s victory to what he described as ongoing silent reforms in the ministry.
He said having realised the problems in the sector, the ministry was determined to take steps that will spur glory in sports and Nigeria.
“This has started paying off,” he said.
The minister also attributed the success of the team to the new leadership in the federation who are determined to bring success to the game on the country.
The team captain, Aisha Mohammed, said the cash reward would spur the players to go for gold in Spain next year.
“We feel overjoyed that the President invited us to come here. We are excited. We promise to give Nigeria more victories and by the grace of God we will go to Spain and win.
“The cash reward will motivate us to do more by the grace of God,” she said.
On what to expect in Spain, she replied, “Gold medal by the grace of God.”
The President of Nigeria Basketball Federation, Musa Ahmadu Kida, attributed the success of the team to the democratic process that has returned to the federation.
He added that if the team could achieve such result in three weeks of the new executive, they will repeat the same feat in Spain.
He told journalists after the short ceremony that the magic in the team’s win “is that this time there was an election that was very democratic and we are actually the result of democracy in sports where the true stakeholders who have the passion for the game are the people administering the sports.”