Nigeria’s male basketball national team, D’Tigers are set to return to camp this Tuesday in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, as they begin preparations for the next phase of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
Although D’Tigers have already qualified for the championship, by virtue of sterling outings in previous stages of the qualifiers, the former African champions will compete in the next phase as mere formality, and possibly maintain their nine-game unbeaten run.
Nigeria became the first country to book a ticket to China 2019 with a 81-61 win over Senegal on September 16th, during a game that saw D’Tigers’ captain, Ike Diogu enact 17 points and 9 rebounds.
D’Tigers will now hope to finish the qualifiers with their unbeaten run intact when they face their hosts, Côte d’Ivoire on Friday, Central Africa Republic on Saturday and settle scores with Senegal on Sunday, the 24th.
With that in view, D’Tigers’ team manager, Musa Adamu disclosed that all has been concluded to make the players comfortable in camp and for the technical crew to have a formidable build-up progamme.
Adamu, however, disclosed that a couple of players are not available, due to club commitments, and have already been replaced by others.
Consequently, Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt ace, Buchi Nwaiwu and Ibe Abuchi Agu of Gombe Bulls have been invited as replacements for the USA-based duo of Ike Nwamu and Christopher Obekpa.
Adamu disclosed further that Nwamu needs time to settle in at his new club, Indiana Pacers, following his transfer from Wisconsin Herd, while Obekpa is out due to administrative reasons.
He further explained that the inclusion of Nwaiwu and Agu was based on their outstanding performances in 2018.
Adamu added: “Buchi Nwaiwu was the Most Valuable Player of the FIBA Zone 3 club Championship in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
“He helped his club qualify for the maiden edition FIBA Afro League. He played very well and was the most valuable player and highest scorer.
“Ibe too was the MVP of the invitational championship played in Kano last year and also put up a good show at the National Sports Festival. Their performances never went unnoticed.”