National Basketball League giants Nam Blazers have pulled out of the ongoing season!
The club has confirmed the developments, citing recent communication by FUBA abouf Basketball Africa League representation and next season’s restart.
As earlier written by this Website, FUBA on August 24, told clubs that this season’s winner will not represent the country at the 2024 Africa Basketball League.
In line with the above, FUBA told Clubs that next season will tip-off in January rather than March as it has always been the case.
Nam Blazers, who lost to City Oilers in game seven of last season’s final series, have said that the changes have been abrupt and hence will have far-reaching
implications to the club.
The Club says FUBA did not consult them and other stakeholders.
That also FUBA should have used forums like Annual and Extra Ordinary General Meetings to holistically discuss any proposed significant changes to the current season.
“As a Basketball Club, we have invested a lot of time and financial resources, with our key selling point to our Sponsors in the year 2023 being the opportunity to be considered to represent the country at next year’s Basketball African League in the event that we are crowned champions of
the 2023 season,” said Nam Blazers CEO Daniel Obol Muttu
“However, such an abrupt decision sends a wrong signal to not only our current
sponsors but also to any other corporate companies that may be considering sponsoring clubs in the NBL with the similar intent to have their brands visible at BAL tournaments across the continent.
“Therefore, the Federation’s decision sends a wrong signal to corporate sponsors as it
demonstrates that the operations of the Federation are not transparent, inconsistent, unpredictable and insensitive to its key stakeholders.”
The Club also says that starting the new season next year in January may be practically impossible as the Licensing window deadline is in November, just a month after this current season ends!
“With the current season (the playoffs) expected to be completed mid to late October, the tight timelines for preparations for the proposed commencement of the 2024 NBL season in January 2024 is onerous to us as a club, as we have a window of only one month to register players by November 2023 and raise the necessary funding at short notice before the new league commences.”
Muttu said the Clubs have been given a short window to sign players and also acquire needed funding to meet their contractual obligations.
“As a league that is expected to be run professionally, clubs should be given ample time to prepare for any new season, or we risk having clubs signing players on terms and conditions they well-knowingly cannot commit to in a bid to meet the strict deadlines that the federation has set.
“Many of the clubs in the league struggle with basics like paying FUBA registration fees, providing water for payers during training and having basic medical apparatus like a first aid kit and medical personnel to attend to player injuries.
“It is, therefore, surprising that the Federation, which is well aware of these challenges, makes such an abrupt and irrational decision.”
The decision comes at a time when the Namuwongo Blazers had completed their Regular Season games with a 17-5 record.
The club, likely to finish second after other teams have completed their games, are supposed to meet the seventh team in the Quarterfinals playoffs.
The Blazers now strongly claim that they do not see a reason why they should continue to participate in the playoff competition that attracts nothing save for a trophy and medals for the eventual winner.
“We invest way more resources to be able to participate in the said competition that no longer offers us the opportunity to compete to represent the country at the next year’s BAL competition.”
Analysis: What Next For Nam Blazers, NBL?
FUBA communicated that the 2023 NBL winner shall not be considered to represent the country in Basketball Africa League.
That and start of the season early in the year, FUBA said, were based on their move to align it’s local activities with the International calendar of activities.
Always, the deadline for sending a local representative for international engagements arrive before a league winner is decided.
And at times, NBL finals were put on hold to allow City Oilers play on the Continent.
There is no doubt that FUBA took a good decision, but the problem is with it’s timing and implementation.
Nam Blazers have all the right to pull out, and their reasonings are factual and justifiable, and whether they can win the league or have the financial muscle power to play on the continent, will be another discussion.
And who can say no to their limits for a side, a newcomer then, that not only pulled hugest crowds but also pushed giants City Oilers to the wire last season.
For starters, the prize money for the League is around Sh5m, which was first awarded last season.
The club spends over 20 times more than that, and per Nam Blazers, their ultimate goal and expenditure has been targeting Basketball Africa League.
It remains to be seen what FUBA will go there, but a sit down with the Club should be the viable option.
Otherwise a ninth-placed team at the end of the season may replace Nam Blazers in the playoffs.
The rest of the clubs have remained silent on the matter, per now, and that alone may not push FUBA to change their earlier decisions.
But whatever happens, Nam Blazers have acted brave and stood on their grounds.
This is the latest exchange between Nam Blazers and FUBA – Earlier, the club had their request to miss the opening weekend of the second round denied.
And also, the two parties failed to agree on who takes which share when the league is hosted at Abja Parks in Naalya.