Nneka Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams will not play for Nigeria at the Tokyo Olympics (Olympics) after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed their appeal.
The WNBA players had asked CAS to grant them interim compensation and add them to the roster for the Tokyo Games until a hearing can take place. Last week, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) informed the two players that their application to play for Nigeria had been rejected because they had played too long for the US national program.
“FIBA takes note of today’s decision by CAS to reject the request for interim measures,” the basketball organization posted on its website. FIBA clarified that the two players were not on the list of Nigerian players presented for the Tokyo Olympics. Nneka Ogwumike and her sisters have dual American and Nigerian citizenship and felt they should be able to represent the country in Japan. Their parents, Peter and Ify, were both born in Nigeria and came to the United States before their daughters were born.
Nigeria coach Otis Hughley Jr believes they should have been allowed to play. He appealed after the loss to the United States on Sunday for them to be allowed to play. Elizabeth Williams played this exhibition match, but Nneka Ogwumike and her sister Chiney did not. They were on the bench to encourage their teammates.
“Give them the opportunity to help develop the game,” said Otis Hughley Jr. “This continent would just be turned upside down for basketball. In a good sense, you have no idea how many lives there are. that would be touched and changed forever. ” He expressed his concern that the reason for FIBA’s refusals came from other countries who believe they have a chance for a medal.
“They didn’t expect us to be in this position,” said the coach. “So there are things going on that nobody sees and that nobody talks about. It hinders integrity. It will catch up with whoever does that. It is completely wrong. I know that FIBA is better than That. I’ve been a part of it for a long time, it’s a big organization. “
Chiney Ogwumike had previously been cleared by FIBA to play for Nigeria as a naturalized player. Each country has the right to a naturalized player in its squad. The youngest of the Ogwumike sisters, Erica, is in the Nigerian workforce. No African nation has won a match at the Olympics since Nigeria lost 1-5 at the Athens Games in 2004.
Nneka Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams have received clearance from USA Basketball to play for Nigeria. Usually, players who participate in major FIBA events for the United States after their 17th birthday are not allowed to start playing for another country. Nneka Ogwumike took part in the 2018 World Cup for the United States, in which the Americans beat Nigeria in the quarter-finals. She had hoped to make the U.S. roster for Tokyo but was sidelined from the squad after a knee injury sustained early last month.