Dapo Sotuminu, Asaba
The former coach of the Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigresses, American Sam Vincent has expressed disbelief and shock over the action taken by his employers, the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
Vincent said on Saturday morning that: “I am writing to express my shock and disbelief to learn via e-mail that President Musa Kida made a decision to release me from my coaching duties and blame it on false accusations and concerns that were never brought to my attention.
“My commitment to developing the Nigeria women’s national team has never been stronger and preparing them for the upcoming World Cup in Spain has been my priority since February 2018. I have never allowed any distraction to deter my focus from our goal of achieving a medal in Spain and making Nigeria and Africa proud.”
He added that: “Following the successful first place finish in the 2017 Africa Nations Tournament and training camp, which was based in Orlando, Florida, there was an understanding that 2018 training camp would return to Orlando. The decision to relocate training camp to Atlanta from my base in Orlando only 30 days before the start of camp created some logistical and professional challenges. I addressed the professional and logistical conflicts with several board members and was assured after discussing the details it was approved by the Federation.”
Sam Vincent stressed that: “The 2018 camping started in a strained atmosphere because our women had previously worked with Mfon Udoka, as General Manager, who they respected and enjoyed working with and we`re trying to understand why she was replaced. Furthermore, the new General Manager, Macbene Amacree, was having difficulty building team chemistry and was at odds with the team, and receiving multiple complaints as evidenced by the attached letter and signatures from all the players.
“My objective for the 2018 World Cup was to build team chemistry with the players and administration to ensure peak performance could be achieved on the floor, however this summer it was impossible to do based on the following issues:
Change in staffing that resulted in poor communication and disgruntled players, Divided Board members and President acting alone and lack of fund ing for players` per diem, medical supplies, and other player rehab related services.
Other reasons include: “Lack of proper job descriptions clarifying roles and responsibilities, no contract, or agreement in place to finalize expectations or compensation and declined potential Jordan brand sponsorship in preference to use of AFA sports brand.”
The coach disclosed that his last correspondence to the President was in reference to a potential sponsorship with Temple Sports and the possibility of them having an interest in assisting us with the development of the team. I never got a response and shortly after received a severance email.”
The Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) on Friday named Otis Hughley as the head coach of the national team for the upcoming FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 in Spain.
Hughley replaces his fellow American Sam Vincent, who was relieved of his duties on Friday.
According to the NBA.com, Hughley served as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings after coaching for seven years (2004-2010) at LeFlore High School in Mobile, Alabama.
At the international level, Hughley led the Chinese Taipei national team to the last four of the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship 2015, where they lost to Korea in the Third-Place game.
The African champions are currently holding a training camp in Atlanta, in an attempt to build a competitive team to face Argentina, Turkey, and Australia in the Group Phase of the World Cup to take place from September 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
According to the NBBF chairman Musa Kida, they needed to take a proactive step in the interest of the team who are preparing for the World Cup.
“We needed to fill the vacuum immediately and continue our preparation for Spain,” he explained.
“For many, parting ways with Vincent at this time was a difficult decision we had to take in the overall and long-term interest of the team.”
Kida continued: “We still have about 50 days to train and get ready for the competition and we are confident that the time frame will be enough for any good coach to train and shape a team into a strong contender.”
This year’s World Cup marks Nigeria’s first appearance in the tournament since 2006.
Dapo Sotuminu, Asaba