… As Minister pledges more support for basketball***
Two members of D’Tigress, the Nigerian senior women national basketball team, on Monday in Abuja assured the country of more victories for at future editions of the continental championship.
The newsmen report that Nigeria beat Mali 70-59 in the final match of the 2021 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket on Sunday in Yaounde, Cameroon to retain the title.
The win was for the third straight time.
Nkem Akaraiwe and Mujanatu Musa, who represented the team at a reception by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium said Nigerians should expect more.
Akaraiwe, a shooting guard, while thanking Youth and Sports Development Minister Sunday Dare for helping her back to the sport, said the team was going to stay solid for more successes.
She said it was her second time of representing Nigeria at the AfroBasket Championship and their success was based on experience.
”I was there back in 2015. It is a great privilege to play in the national team, and knowing full well that I’m just coming back to sports after sustaining a major injury.
“But I really appreciate every effort made by the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and the coaches, and our winning was a thing of gradual process and we will maintain it,” Akaraiwe said.
On her part, Musa who is a centre in the squad, said all the players were happy that they returned to the country with the trophy.
“It is a great joy for me to win the championship, and I’m very happy to bring back the trophy.
“It was a big fight from day one, but we just give our best in each game.It was a tough fight, but we thank God that we came back to Nigeria with the trophy.
“We will continue to fight to win more trophies to the country by God’s grace,” she said.
Newsmen report that Nigeria were drawn in Group B alongside Angola and Mozambique at the championship, beating Mozambique 67-50 and defeating Angola 85-65.
In the quarter-finals, they beat Cote d’ivoire 72-56, and Senegal 73-63 in the semi-final, before beating Mali 70-59 in the final.
In the same vein, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has hailed the D’Tigress, Nigeria’s senior women basketball team, for winning the 2021 FIBA women’s AfroBasket championship.
The minister gave the commendation on Monday in Abuja at a reception to welcome the victorious Nigerian ladies who won the title for the third consecutive time on Sunday in Yaounde.
The newsmen report that D’Tigress defeated Mali 70 -59 to emerge champions.
Dare at a reception held at the VIP Lounge of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, said the ministry was ready to work more closely with the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) to further develop the game in the country.
“I want to congratulate the team for winning the Afrobasketball trophy and that is gold, you can see the Golden Cup here for the third consecutive time.
“They have shown a rare dominance, the dominance of the women basketball terrain by D’Tigress from the African continent, I can say it’s now undisputable,” he said.
The minister harped on the need to continue to follow the template of blending the home-based players and foreign- based ones to achieve results in all sports as exemplified by D’Tigress.
“We have seen how they are also blending the home- based players with the foreign players, that is the DNA of our sports as a country whether it is basketball or football, that blend always works for us.
“I want to thank each and every player, those that went to the Olympics, those that went to Senegal and those that went to Cameroon that entire team has always done this country proud and I know that they have more victories ahead of them.
“I also thank them for putting Nigeria on the global map of basketball, the same goes to D’Tigers. I can now say that Nigeria is truly a basketball nation,” he added.
He described the victory as a timely and worthy Independence Day gift to Nigeria.
Earlier, the outgoing Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the NBBF, Musa Kida, said the victory was a result of years of hard work and dedication from both administrators, players and coaches.
He said the NBBF would continue to explore ways of developing the game from the grassroots while paying more attention to players and coaches welfare.