Category Archives: Basketball

Nigeria’s D’Tigress Start FIBA Women’s World cup Campaign Against Australia…

After weeks of training which started in Atlanta and ended in Turkey, African Champions, D’Tigress will start their 2018 FIBA Women’s World Basketball cup campaign against Australia on Saturday by 12:30am Nigerian time.

D’Tigress who are ranked 34th in the world by FIBA will square up against world number 4, Australia at the San Cristobal de La Laguna, Santiago Martin Arena in Tenerife.

Without any previous record of meetings, both sides’ target will be starting the tournament on a strong note with a win.

Otis Hughley Head Coach of Nigeria’s D’Tigress

Reacting before the game, D’Tigress Head coach Otis Hughley is confident of his team’s readiness to confront any opposition.

“We were born ready for this. There is no point in coming to such events like this just to add to the numbers. We have done what we should have done within the time allowed for training and the general consensus in the team is that we are good to go.”

D’Tigress having enjoyed an unprecedented support from the leadership of the Nigeria Basketball Federation are determined to repay the faith with world class performance at the highest stage of world basketball.

Team captain, Adaora Elonu said is grateful to the NBBF for their support.

“We can’t thank the federation enough for this level of preparation. I have been around the National team set up for a while and I can confidently say this is the first time we’ve had this type of preparation.”

She said the team is not under pressure heading into their first game as she promised that the girls are determined to try their best at the world cup.

Besiktas of Turkey player, Evelyn Ahkator while echoing her team mates’ belief said that as African Champions, the onus lies on them not just to fly the Nigerian flag alone but that of every other basketball playing nations in Africa.

“In 2017, nobody believed we could win the Afrobasket in Mali. It is our time to prove to the world that Nigeria is not a push over.”

The team will be hoping to make history as the first African team to win a world cup match and also record their first victory at the world stage.

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FIBA World cup qualifiers: Nigeria’s Al-Farouq Powers D’Tigers To Another Win

Portland Trailblazers forward Al Farouq Aminu ticked all boxes as he powered D’Tigers to a 84-73 win against Cote d’Ivoire in their first game of the second round FIBA World Cup qualifiers played in Lagos on Friday.

Al Farouq Aminu was instrumental as Nigeria dominated the game to remain unbeaten in the qualifiers with a record of 7 wins from 7 games.

He scored 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, a block and +15 efficiency.

Obi Emegano also played a critical role in the team’s win with 15 points. Benjamin Uzoh who had 6 rebounds emerged as rebound leader while Alade Aminu led in steals with 3.

Mouloukou Souleyman Diabate was Ivorians’ top performer with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

A breakdown of the game saw D’Tigers lead their counterparts 21-19 in first quarter, 20-13 in the second quarter, 23-16 in the third while CIV took the 4th with 20-25.

Nigeria D’Tigers,

Despite a 52% accuracy from 2-point shots, 38% from 3 pointers and 80% accuracy from the free throw line, the team’s coach, Alex Nwora was coy as he said the boys could have done better.

“Yes, the time for preparing for this window was very short but same was applicable to other teams too. We are happy that we got this win, but if we have to defeat Central Africa Republic and continue our unbeaten run, we will have to improve.”

Later today at 8pm, D’Tigers will clash with Central Africa Republic who lost 65points to 66 against Mali.

Mali and Senegal will open the floor before Rwanda battles Cote d’Ivoire.

NIGERIA GOVERNMENT SENDS FORTH D’TIGRESS TO WORLD CUP

The Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung has charged the D’Tigress to compete clean and fair when they start their FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Tenerife, Spain.

He gave the charge on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in his office in Abuja during a brief sent forth party organised for the team.

“It is the belief of this government that for every competition, you should compete clean and fair. The country is standing solidly behind you. We are looking out for you with hope that with hardwork, you can bring the trophy home.”

Barrister Dalung said that the Ministry under his watch is giving equal opportunities to all sports men and women to excel at the grassroots and international stage.

“We are deliberately looking toward the development of female sports and we believe that once we are able to equitably tackle the inbalance between the men’s football, women’s football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, our women will do us proud because they have less of the controversies compared to the men.”

The Minister thanked the players for their dedication and willingness to heed the clarion call to represent Nigeria in Spain.

“I want to thank you sincerely for honouring the invitation to come to camp, for considering service to your country as a priority. You are a team that is very compact, driven by common interest and also determined.

“I believe that the sky will be the limit of this team”, he continued.

In her response, the team’s captain, Adaora Elonu promised that D’Tigress will do their best to give a good representation of the country who will be playing at the competition as African Champions.

D’Tigress

Elonu thanked the NBBF President, Engineer Musa Kida for ensuring the team’s early call to camp and early preparations to stand a chance of competing seriously at the world cup.

The Nigeria Basketball Federation President who was represented by the Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade thanked the Minister for his support since they were sworn in in 2017.

“We cannot thank you enough for your level of support to the board. You have shown yourself to be a good and dependable father. Like Oliver Twist, we still ask for more.”

At the ceremony were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr Olusade Adesola, the President, Nigeria Olympic Committee Engr. Habu Gumel and other staff of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

I Am back In D’Tigers To Learn More – Ikechukwu Nwamu

D’Tigers guard, Ikechukwu Nwamu has set his sight on learning as much as possible from the experienced members of the squad as they prepare for the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers starting on Friday.

A member of the 2017 Afrobasket silver medal winning side while speaking on arrival in camp on Sunday said he is ready to acquire more knowledge as possible.

“I want to soak up much knowledge as possible being one of the younger guys in the team. So, I want to get their experiences and be able to add to my game moving forward”.

Nwamu who has not featured for the team since the Nations cup in Tunisia said being part of the selected few alongside experienced hands likes Al-Farouq Aminu, Alade Aminu, Ike Diogu, Ben Uzoh and Stanley Okoye to represent Nigeria is a special feeling which any athlete will forever cherish.

“It’s very special, because you put on the green white green and get to represent your country and your family. It’s really a big deal. Not everybody can get to represent the country. So, for us to be able to do this, it’s a blessing.”

The guard who is glad to be back home has ruled out any possibility of being under pressure due to fans’ demands after his 2017 Afrobasket heroics.

Ikechukwu Nwamu

“No pressure. It also gives you a sense of comfort because you have played at a high level to represent the country. So, it is just trying to do the same all over again for the next 3 games.”

He said despite the pedigree of their opponents on the African continent, proper preparation, home support and self believe will play a major role in winning their games when they file out against Cote d’Ivoire, Central Afrique and Senegal.

“We know that they are 3 very good teams, but we are confident in ourselves, we are going to prepare and then win these games.”

As a professional player who plays in Greece for Lavrio Megabolt he said it will be extra special playing at home in front of very supportive Lagos fans.

World Cup Debut Excites Nigeria’s Elo Edeferioka

D’Tigress forward, Elo Edeferioka is excited about the possibility of being part of the team to the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup is Spain.

Elo who is full of optimism about what the team can achieve says the entire team is focused on the big task of representing Nigeria well at the world stage.

“Everybody is excited by this new journey to go to Spain for the World Cup and we are ready to make a change. We are looking to go all the way and nothing is going to stop us. We are so focused. We have great coaching staff that are also focused on the job at hand.

“We are looking to go all the way and we are just going to keep working hard”, she continued.

Elo who averaged 6.5 rebounds and 7.7 points per game in her final season with Yellow Jackets (Georgia Tech women’s team) is excited to be back in the team after missing out of the 2017 Afrobasket party.

(L) D’Tigress’ Elo Edeferioka
photo credit: NBBF

“I am very excited to be back with the team I was not able to make it last year because I was in Italy with my college team. We are doing so well. The camp in Atlanta was amazing, we have a great coach and everything has been awesome.”

She said her mission is to make her team mates better and ready for the competition in Spain.

“Being a team is sacrificing for the team. Right now, our focus as a team is to help each other, carry each other along no matter what the outcome may be.”

The prospective World Cup debutant called on Nigerians to remain unflinching in their support for the team.

“We just need their support and prayer throughout this process. At the end of the day, we are going to do what we are supposed to do.”

2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup: We Need Extra Focus To Get Our Job Done – Kalu

D’Tigress point guard, Kalu Ezinne has demanded extra focus from her team mates as they start the second phase of their camping in Lagos on Monday in preparation for the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup.

The 26 year old who plays for Vasa Akademia in the Hungarian league said their mission in Lagos is to finish the second phase on a high note in time for World Cup in Spain.

“I expect everybody to have a solid focus. We are ready to finish the second part of camp and get a solid defense going. I expect that everybody will come in and stay focused because the second phase of the camp is the most important.”

According to the former co-captain of the team, going by the statistics of the friendlies played during the first phase of their camping in Atlanta, the team’s offense has been great.

She expects that they can always get better with more warm up games lined up by the Nigeria Basketball Federation.

D’Tigress Point Guard Kalu Ezinne

The 26 year old who played a pivotal role in D’Tigress’ emergence as African Champions in 2017 while speaking on arrival in Lagos said putting on the National team’s jersey and representing millions of Nigerians comes with a bit of pressure on any player which for her is normal.

“I do feel the pressure but at the same time, I know that my team has got my back. They can trust me and I can trust them and help me keep being a leader.”

Despite the recent appointment of Adaora Elonu as captain, Ezinne said she will continue to play her leadership role on the court and give her best to bring glory to Nigeria anytime she steps on the court.

“As a point guard, I have to be a leader on the floor, talk my team mates through and communicate”, she concluded.

Nigeria’s Nwora Invites Fantastic 12 For FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

D’Tigers head coach, Alex Nwora has invited 12 players for the next round of the FIBA Men’s World cup qualifiers to be hosted in Lagos between the 14th and 16th of September.

The 12 man team expected to report to camp on the 6th of September will be headlined by Portland Trail Blazers’ Al-Farouq Aminu who last featured for Nigeria in 2015 when the team played in the FIBA Afrobasket.

Team Captain, Ike Diogu who recently inked a contract with Bayaman Vasqueros in Peurto Rico will return with a bang alongside Benjamin Uzoh, Ikenna Iroegbu, Mbamalu Bryant and Ikechukwu Nwamu.

Alex Nwora

Others who will be making a sensational return to the star studded team include Stanley Okoye who last featured for the team in 2015 and the duo of Aminu Alade and Ekenechukwu Ibekwe who were part of the Rio 2016 Olympic adventure.

Benue state born Christopher Obekpa who plays with Al Riyadi of Lebanon is making a return to the national team while France based Emenago Obinna Clinton and Akndele Ayodeji will be featuring again in the team that has been tagged “Killer Squad” by many.

Speaking on the decision to invite just 12 players for the qualifiers, Nwora said “There is no time to have too many players in camp as some of the players will be arriving a few days to the competition based on the time of their release by their clubs.”

According to him, he would have preferred to have more players fight for shirts in camp, but because of the peculiarity of the international window, those invited will only have few days to train before their first game against Ivory Coast.

The NBBF is confident that the players invited based on their current form and pedigree will do the nation proud in its quest to qualify for the 2019 World cup in China.

Nigeria D’Tigers,

Currently topping group F with 12 maximum points from 6 games ahead of closest rival, Senegal with 11 points, D’Tigers will hope to make the home advantage count when they face Central Africa Republic, Ivory Coast and Senegal during the fourth window of the FIBA world cup qualifiers.

Winning all their 3 games at home will ensure an automatic qualification for the team with 3 matches left to play.

The federation has assured that Nigeria’s best hands will always be invited irrespective of where they play.