The team promises to come back stronger.
After failing to progress to the semi final of the Afrobasket holding in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, players of the senior men’s basketball national team have offered an apology to Nigerians for the disappointment.
Co-captains of the team, Olumide Oyedeji and Ike Diogu, who spoke separately on Wednesday, expressed the disappointment of the entire players and promised that the team would get better and hopefully win the next edition of the competition in 2015.
“It’s really sad that we lost to Senegal after the initial progress we made. I still can’t believe we lost; it’s like a dream to me. It is unfortunate that we disappointed Nigerians but I hope it will get better because we have young players whose average age is 24, 25. There is a future for the team and I know they will get better,” Oyedeji said.
His co-captain, Diogu, who is the second oldest in the team after Oyedeji, said he, like rest of the team, felt that they have let Nigeria down, especially after showing that they were capable of winning the competition.
“I feel disappointed that we have let our nation down after the support they gave to us. It is a learning process, we promise to get better and come back stronger,” he said, reiterating Oyedeji’s position that they still had years ahead of them.
“We started well but played some hard games against Cameroon and Congo. In the match against Senegal, we kind of didn’t play our game and they took advantage of it. It is really painful because we put in our best but it didn’t work out as planned,” Diogu explained.
One of the youngest players in the team who was improving with every game, Ben Uzoh, also expressed his disappointment at their loss but added that since it was his first time with the national team, he hoped he would have time to make up for the disappointment.
“This is my first time in the national team and I thank the coach for giving me the opportunity to represent my country. I hope to continue to do my best in the future,” he pledged.
Richard Oruche who picked up a foot fracture in the first game against Mali expressed his appreciation towards Nigerians who prayed for and supported the team.
“I feel we disappointed the country after the support they gave us. I know I could have contributed to help the team win if not for the injury I sustained,” he said. “At the competition in 2015, we hope to do better than we did this time and go on to win the trophy.”
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