The coast is now clear for the Team Nigeria Basketball team, D’Tigers, to defend both the All Africa Games (AAG) gold it won four years ago in Mozambique and the elusive AfroBasket tourney, as the national basketball coach, Sanni Ahmed, has vowed to involve more NBA players in the competition.
Ahmed, who led the team to qualify for the two tourneys at the expense of Burkina Faso said he would involve more NBA players to prosecute the two tournaments.
He said only two players were used in the qualifiers, but the numbers will rise because they want the best for the AAG/AfroBasket tournaments.
The image-maker of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Patrick Omorodion confirmed what the coach said and expressed optimism that D’Tigers will strive hard to retain the gold medal they won in the last edition of the AAG held in Mozambique four years ago.
“Despite the fact that majority of the players we used were home-based, we still qualified for the AfroBasket and AAG. By the time we have a complete team and the foreign professionals, the sky will be our limit,” he emphasised.
Nigeria sealed qualification to the 2015 FIBA AfricaBasket Championship in Tunisia and the AAG in Congo Brazzaville with a 63-50 victory over Burkina Faso in the 2nd Leg of the qualifiers at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
D’Tigers who won the 1st leg by 23 points in Ouagadougou jumped off the starting block in style, in front of the ecstatic Lagos crowd with an 8 points lead in the 1st quarter with the score line at 18-10 points.
According Femi Adefeso, Basketball media coordinator, ‘It was a tougher game for the host after the break as the Burkinabes’ gave a tough fight in the 2nd half winning both the 3rd and 4th quarters 15-14 and 18-17 points respectively.
Nigeria now joins 13 other qualified countries -Angola, Egypt, Cote d’ Ivoire, Cameroon, Mali, Morocco, Uganda, Cape Verde, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Gabon, Congo and host Tunisia- for her 17th appearance at FIBA Africa Championship built for the cities of Nabuel and Hammamet, Tunisia from the August 20- 30, 2015 vis-a-vis the 11th All African Games scheduled for September 4-19th in Congo Brazzaville.