Nigeria’s D’Tigress star Oderah Chidom quits national women’s basketball team
Nigeria’s D’Tigress star and FIBA AfroBasket winner, Oderah Chidom is quitting the national team. She’s hinging her departure on what she terms “a lack of professionalism” on the part of the Nigerian Basketball Federation and the Ministry of Youths and Sports.
In June 2023, the NBBF appointed Ruth Wakama, a former national team player as the new team coach. She replaced Otis Hughley, Jr. who left last year.
The new head coach, Wakama has called for open tryouts in Chicago, Lagos, and Abuja from July 8 – 11, 2023 and Chidom said it’s the last straw after the debacle of Nigeria’s female basketball team withdrawing from the FIBA World Cup following the inability to resolve internal squabbles within the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
“The trigger for me was seeing an Instagram post of open tryouts in three different locations three weeks before Afrobasket. I will not be attending. I don’t think that’s professional at all. I consider myself a professional. And I don’t think it’s okay for me to pay my way to try out for something when I think I have a resume that speaks for itself.
I have standards of how I conduct business at the professional level, and Nigeria continues to disappoint me.
“This is a national team. Generally what you do is you invite a group of professionals and you compete in a camp and then the 12 best at that camp get to compete on whatever team and that’s mostly how a national team is conducted.
“I was with my family when I got the message and I just was in shock. Playing for the national team is something that my family is proud of, that I am proud of as it holds a lot of weight for me, and the way that they conduct themselves is taking all of that away from us. It’s just so disheartening.
“I have been blessed to play with a lot of teams where I have seen professionalism from management, and I don’t see those same qualities within our own federation. So to continuously keep coming back to to a federation that I feel does not value me is not worth it.
“I am officially done with national team. I cannot continue to have this added stress in my life. As a team, we try to choose our words very carefully so we do not offend anyone on the federation.
“But personally, I’m done and my purpose of doing this is to shed light on the lack of professionalism within the federation and that it needs to change.
“It’s really difficult to not have any sense of communication, not have any sense of professionalism. All of our information comes from Twitter and social media.
“We never know what’s going on. We ask a lot of questions about just simple things of when camp is, where it will be held, and who are the coaches, and we get responses like ‘please be patient’.
“Everything that we do is super last minute. The level of professionalism is just not up to par with the constant production that we produce.”
When contacted by ESPN, the NBBF President, Musa Kida reiterated that open tryouts aren’t new with the national team.
“We did the same thing in 2017 and we raised a team that went on to win the AfroBasket in 2019,
Not everybody will like the idea, but we are trying to make the best decisions for Nigerian basketball. We have a new coach and we want to rebuild the team.
“Of course, we would like to see all the players show up, but we can’t force anyone to do so, and it is up to each player to make the decision that is best for them,” said Kida
Nigeria’s D’Tigress will be chasing a fourth sequential title, after winning the tourney in 2017, 2019, and 2021.