Nigeria’s female basketball national team, D’Tigress have been grouped with Turkey, Argentina and Australia for the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup from September 22 to 30 in Tenerife, Spain.
At a ceremony held Tuesday at Teatro Leal, San Cristobal de la Laguna, Spain, Nigeria was drawn in Group B for the globe’s biggest women’s basketball tournament.
D’Tigress will aim to surpass their 2006 outing, when they lost all their group games against China, Russia and United States before suffering another defeat in the classification game against Senegal to finish 16th.
In reaction to the draw, Dallas Wings player and one of the most influential Nigerians in the WNBA, Evelyn Akhator said D’Tigress only need to prepare well and play with determination to shock their favoured group opponents.
Akhator, who powered D’Tigress to their Afrobasket win in Mali, believes the team can do well, if they get good preparation coupled with relentless effort and determination of the players as well as the management.
Akhator said: “I think it will be a great outing for us being drawn alongside Australia, Turkey and Argentina. I have watched the Turkish team play and I am confident that we will surmount them.
“On the other hand Australia and Argentina, we will give a good fight with all hopes of winning. A build up on our previous success at the Afrobasket would surely bear fruitful result.”
On his part, D’Tigress head coach of the side, Sam Vincent said the draws has officially kick-started their preparation for the world cup and their goal of securing a medal.
“I am excited and confident about our position in the pool. It moves us one step closer to our goal of securing a medal in the 2018 FIBA World Cup,” Vincent enthused.
Similarly, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) vice-president, BabsOgunade expressed optimism about the team’s ability to make it out of the group which he described as ‘interesting.’
Ogunade said: “We are sure to make it to the next round, then one game at a time. We are the dark horses here and it is a good place to be so as to spring surprises. We have our hearts and heads in a good place.”