Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) international representative on the board, Col. Samuel Ahmedu (rtd) has declared that the country’s male national team, D’Tigers will bounce back from their loss to DR Congo in their third match at the ongoing 2017 FIBA AfroBasket Men’s Championship.
As D’Tigers prepare to take on Cameroon in the quarter-finals, Ahmedu expressed understanding over reactions from Nigerians, who are unhappy about Sunday’s result against DR Congo, but says the team can bounce back on Thursday.
Reactions trailed the team’s last group game loss, despite being in the driver’s seat for the better part of the game against the Congolese, who returned to the tournament after a 10-year absence.
Ahmedu explained that the team gave a good account of themselves giving the prevailing circumstances they found themselves.
“I understand why some people feel bad and we all do as no one likes to lose. If you understand sports, you will know that you win some and lose some.
“This team was in camp for 2 weeks only and did not have time for quality friendly games. The team is playing against quality opposition for the first time here.”
Ahmedu explained that the 2017 edition of the FIBA Afrobasket has shown that no country is a minnow with every participating team being at the tournament to win.
“Angola lost to Morocco and almost lost to Uganda whom they beat after overtime. Nigeria beat Mali who beat Congo who beat us. That is sports. Many teams will give their feet to be where we are now.”
He drew positives from D’Tigers ability to come out top of their group despite their loss as he is confident that the Coach Alex Nwora tutored side will definitely improve on the lapses noticed against the Congolese while getting set for their match against Cameroon.
He also shed light on the massive changes to the 2015 Afrobasket winning team which has seen the coach rebuilding a new team for the 2017 edition co-hosted by Tunisia and Senegal.
“Apart from Ike Diogu, players who played in 2015 were not available. Some are in the process of renegotiating contracts, some were not released by their teams due to timing issues, some blatantly refused to show up when invited and some asked to be paid money before they can play for Nigeria. So the coach had to make do with what he had”.
The Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade also buttressed Ahmedu’s position despite admitting that the team had no reason to have lost the game.
“We did not prosecute the match with the full complement of our players. Some had malaria; one had diarrhoea while another was down with a hamstring injury after the hectic schedule left us depleted.
He is optimistic that with the few days between their last group games and their quarterfinal against Cameroon, the team will recover well as the medical staffs are working round the clock to “patch up the players before hitting the home stretch.”