With D’Tigress paired with world powerhouses, USA, France and host Japan in what pundits have dubbed the ‘Group of Death’, the leadership of Nigeria’s Basketball Federation has commenced preparations to ensure that both the men and women National basketball teams perform well at the Olympics.
While reacting to the draw conducted last week on BCOS TV flagship sports program Saturday Breakfast Sports, anchored by Boluwaji Ogunmola, Vice President of NBBF, Babs Ogunade, insisted that the Federation is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the men and women basketball team of Nigeria perform well in Tokyo.
Speaking on how the Federation is preparing the teams for the Olympics, Mr. Ogunade said the Federation has been organizing short camps for the teams and will keep doing so ahead of the Olympics.
“Well, because of the pandemic ravaging the world, we are having short camps everywhere, the first of which terminates in Atlanta this weekend…the girls have been together for the last 8 days in Atlanta under Coach Otis. Also for the men, the NBA is in the season so we will have short camps also for them, the era of the long camp is over, so we have short days of camp and have them go back to their clubs until they have long holidays. Same as the home based players, our plan is to hand every basketball player home and abroad the chance to fight for the national team jersey.”
The Vice-President disclosed that the Federation has not given the teams any specific target but won’t mind a podium finish.
He said, “At every time our national teams step on the court, Nigerian should expect them to give their very best, a podium appearance won’t be a bad thing, in fact, it will be fantastic”.
“It’s a tough draw as expected at the Olympics since the Olympics is not an inter-house sport, the very best come out to play at the Olympics, so we’re happy to be among the best, we’re also happy to be representing Nigeria and Africa. We are happy to have crossed that qualification hurdle and were now planning for the Olympics proper,” he concluded.
All three of the Nigerian women’s opponents are ranked higher than D’Tigress in the toughest group of the event. The USA is the No.1 team in the world, France is No.5, and hosts Japan are 10th in the world. Nigeria’s D’Tigress is ranked No.1 in Africa and No.14 in the world with 366 points.