Basketball enthusiasts in recent times have frowned at the neglect of players who ply their trade in Nigeria. In the 2015 Afrobasket Championship in Tunisia, no Nigeria league player made the roster. Thus, there have been calls from various quarters to incorporate few home based players in this year’s Afrobasket championship in September.
During a chat with aclsports.com, Kwara Falcons small forward – Mojubaoluwa Oyeleye – thinks his fellow players in the Nigerian League have not lived up to the billing. “As far as I am concerned, once you are good enough and put in hard work, your skill level will show and there is no way they will be able to overlook you. So if my other local players don’t get invited, it is because we are not yet good enough,”Oyeleye said.
“It’s about form, and it varies. Some of us are not consistent. Like the NBA, you hear somebody dropping over 20 points every single game, over 10 rebounds every single game but it’s not like that here. There is still more work to be done by our local league players. But I know a player can get to a particular level he cannot be overlooked,” he said.
The former Oluyole Warriors forward expressed his desire to make the list if the home based players are considered, saying: “I definitely would love to make the Afrobasket so whoever is in charge of selection, should please don’t forget about me, I am rooting for myself.”
Meanwhile his teammate, Ossai God’s power had a contrast opinion on the invite of local league players to the national team. “I think we are good enough to make the list. If they still decide to bring just the foreign players it is still okay but to balance the list, I’ll prefer they bring in players from both the local and foreign players rather than bring all the players from over there,” he said.
God’s power believes the Afrobasket Championship is one every league player hopes to participate in before he calls time out on his career.
“The home based players have been praying for such opportunity but they don’t get it. As for me, I wish to make the list because I feel it will improve my game and offer me more experience. If I have the opportunity, I’ll love to be there,” he explained.
Mark Mentors forward, Stanley Gumut is the last home based player to make the Nigeria roster at the 2013 Afrobasket in Ivory Coast.