A player in Nigeria’s female senior basketball national team, D’Tigress, Aisha Mohammed Balarabe has stated delight with the squad’s ability to make their teeming fans at home and abroad proud by claiming a back-to-back conquest of the FIBA Women Afrobasket title in Dakar, Senegal.
Speaking against the backdrop of D’Tigress’ 60-55 victory over the host country, Senegal, to retain the title they earlier won in 2017 and get a fourth overall feel of the trophy in history, the team’s former captain said she is also grateful to God for making it possible.
She stated as much during a radio sports programme monitored in Lagos, and the former league player in America’s National Women’s Basketball Association (NWBA) said they are all happy for making Nigeria stand tall, in spite of all the hostility and intimidation they faced.
The excited Amazon disclosed that the home fans hurdled verbal abuse at them, splashed dirty water over them and even threw eggs into their dressing room, all in efforts to distract the Nigerian players from being able to focus on how to beat Senegal’s team in a repeat of the 2017 final.
Born October 21, 1985 (age 34), the OGM Orman of Turkey forward was captain of the team that also won the title in 2017 and, despite being stripped of her band before the FIBA Women’s World Cup last year in Spain, she remains a staunch member of the squad.
Having been part of D’Tigress since 2002, the lady of Northern Nigeria descent, who grew up in a military barracks and got married earlier this year, said she can now gladly retire with a high sense of satisfaction, as she wants to focus on raising a family.
Sunday’s victory in Dakar makes it her fourth conquest of Africa, as she was part of the team that won 2003 edition in Mozambique and two years later on home soil in Nigeria, such that she is counting God’s grace in her career and in helping D’Tigress roar with delight once again.
Aisha roared: “Back-to-back winners! First of all, we thank God for making it possible. We also thank all Nigerians, and all the families that supported us.
“It was tough. The crowd was against us. They tried to distract us by pouring water on us and even throwing eggs into our locker room.
“They did everything to prevent us from winning again, but, thanks to God, we overcame them. We conquered them.”