Players of Nigeria’s female basketball team, D’Tigress and some top coaches in the domestic scene have joined other stakeholders and lovers of the gin=ants’ sport in showering praises on the male team, D’Tigers for finishing second at the 2017 FIBA Africa Championship.
Though the reigning champions failed to retain their title in this year’s edition hosted by Senegal and Tunisia, they have received plaudits for their gallant performance in the final on Saturday.
D’Tigers, who won the AfroBasket in 2015, were beaten 77-65 by Tunisia, but the team’s captain, Ike Diogu was named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament.
Another player in the Nigerian team, Ike Nwamu got the award for the best three pointers, while Diogu and Ike Iroegbu made the All-Star team of the tournament.
In reaction, Kano Pillars coach, Sani Ahmed and his First Bank counterpart, Peter Ahmedu, as well as D’Tigress players, Upe Atosu and Nkechi Akashili chorused that D’Tigers deserved praise for their efforts in the tournament.
Ahmed said, “The team were strong but it is never easy when you are playing the hosts in front of their fans. There were a few mistakes which the Tunisians capitalised on but D’Tigers showed the stuff of champions.
First Bank star, Atosu said: “We witnessed the same thing when we played Mali at the 2017 AfroBasket Women. The shouts from the home fans affect players’ psyche a lot and when you are now playing a good home team, it is an extra advantage.
“D’Tigers played well and were leading with a point at half time but the Tunisians were also good and it was hard for D’Tigers to recover. I think they deserved to be rewarded for their efforts.”
Akashili said: “D’Tigers played against an extra man – the fans. The Tunisians were good but their fans made them to feel better and that affected their game. I believe D’Tigers did well and will do well in subsequent competitions if they have more time together.”