When The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) announced that Nneka Ogwumike alongside Chiney will be among the 15 man provisional list for the D’tigress of Nigeria, Many Nigerians began to wonder how that materialized, as Nneka previously represented team USA in various competitions.
In this article, Ojbsports Kenny Bamidele examines article 3-37 of FIBA rules, talking about Transfer Procedure – Duties of Member Federations.
FIBA states that, when a National team gets a request for a license from a player who was previously licensed with another federation, it must obtain a letter of clearance on behalf of the player from FIBA.
“Whenever a national member federation receives a request for a license for any player who was licensed previously by another national federation, before granting such a license in accordance with its own regulations, it must obtain a letter of clearance on behalf of the player concerned.”FIBA RULES
With these rules stated above, all Nneka is waiting for right now is a clearance from FIBA, which should happen before the Mundial kick-starts.
Meanwhile there is more to it. A clearance must be obtained from the player’s last federation before he/she will be given another license for another member federation. That was why Nneka contacted USA Basketball and told them she was interested in pursuing a chance to play with Nigeria. With reports, the United State of America Basketball has released the duo of Nneka and Chiney, which was required since both previously have competed for the United States in FIBA-sanctioned events.
“A letter of clearance must be obtained from the national member federation where a player was last licensed before he can be licensed by another member federation. A copy of each letter of clearance must be sent (also by email) to FIBA. This document certifies that the player concerned is free to be licensed by another member federation.”FIBA RULES
It must be noted that if these players have done that after reaching their 17th birthday, they will not be allowed to play for a different country in a FIBA event. However, according to FIBA’s regulations on player eligibility, the organization’s secretary general may authorize a player to compete for the national team of his or her country of origin if this is in the interest of the growth of basketball in that country. And one of the pillars of FIBA is placing priority on the growth of women’s basketball worldwide, which could favor the decision for Nneka and Chiney getting to play for Nigeria.
On the other hand the youngest of the trio, Erica Ogwumike committed to playing for Nigerian team last year, as she has never played for Team USA in a FIBA-sanctioned event. Executive producer for 144, Chiney Ogwumike weighed the possibility of representing Nigeria about two months ago.
The truth about this matter is that, a lot has been said as to Nneka Ogwumike eligibility to play for Nigeria, but as things stands, her decision is not unruly.