Nigeria’s female national team, D’Tigress’ coach, Otis Hughley has promised that his players will be ready to defend their tile at this year’s edition of the FIBA Africa Afrobasket Women’s Championship.
Although the American basketball tactician admits the squad is still work in progress, as they have only just resumed camp after a long break since last year, Hughley pledged that D’Tigress will be ready in time to make a successful defence of their title.
He added during Mega Sports on Star 101.5 FM, Lagos that training has commenced in earnest, as he and his assistants aim to put all the players through their paces with determined zeal, in order to put them up to the scratch ahead of this month’s championship billed for Dakar, Senegal.
He stated further that the crew have to work round the clock to build the team technically and tactically, as some new players have been added to the squad and they need to blend with their colleagues, to stand a good chance of winning for Nigeria a fourth African title at the competition, for which they are grouped with Tunisia and Cameroon.
While also disclosing that he wants to make D’Tigress very attractive for more Nigerian-born players in USA’s National Women’s Basketball Association (WNBA) League, Hughley said the inclusion of new lasses in the squad was due to shortfalls he noticed during the last World Cup.
He pointed out that Jasmine Nwajei, whose registration could not be completed before the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain, is back in the team and will hope to make her international debut in Dakar.
Other new players that will line out with D’Tigress include University of Buffalo ace, Theresa Onwuka, as well as Victoria Macaulay and Ifunaya Ibekwe, alongside Italy-based revelation, Kunaiyi Akpannah.
Hughley stressed: “ We have added some talents. What we have now is still a work-in-progress, but we have taken a step in that direction.
“I think if we can play well, win and defend our title. (We also want to) get back at Cameroon for what they did to us several years ago.
“I think it will attract more talents from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
“Some other people playing at a higher level are interested in playing for Nigeria and we are drawing a lot of attention that we were hoping for.”