The stage is set and the players are ready. Will it be revenge or consolidation of strength when Nigeria’s national basketball team, D’Tigers, confront the Senegalese team in Rades tonight?
The match will see the two West African rivals jostling for a final ticket to the FIBA Afrobasket Championship final and a closer tilt at gaining an automatic ticket to represent Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
So much is at stake as the Nigerians seek to revenge for their quarterfinal ousting at the 2013 Championships while the Senegalese will be hoping to consolidate on that victory.
Bode Oguntuyi, a basketball buff was asked on Twitter what the Will Voigt-led D’tigers can do to beat Senegal and he replied, “The double threat of inside play, penetration and shooting will spread the floor sweetly for us.”
The tactics advised is a confirmation of what Olumide Oyedeji, the captain of the team said about the Nigerian team been the most complete outfit in Tunisia.
They must use their speed, agility to spread the court and ensure that they use quick rotation of the basketball.
Oguntuyi continued: “It’s going to be a great game. I pray our lads show up BIG. And I think Ben Uzoh will be key in this game. Because he can break down defenses and can penetrate. I just pray our outside shooting gets hot early.”
D’Tigers’ Alade Aminu and Olasei Lawal must frustrate the shooting accuracy of
Gorgui Dieng, who leads in the tournament in scoring and rebounding with 24.2 points and 15.2 rebounds.
Saer Sene, who was part of the Senegalese team that beat Nigeria for the first time in four confrontations in 2013, told FIBA that it was ‘going to be a physical game’. The two West African teams have the biggest and tallest players combined in the tournament.
“We are looking forward to the semi-finals against Nigeria, I am sure it’s going to be a physical game, but we will be ready for them.
“It is going to be the best game of the tournament. We need to get focused because Nigeria is a big and good team,” he added.
For the Nigerians, Chamberlain Oguchi must make more than the average 25 percent success from the three-point mark while the drive to commit players and make baskets will be squarely on the shoulders of Al-Farouq Aminu.
The match tips off at the Rades Stadium at 18:30 while Africa’s top two, Tunisia and Angola meet at 21:00.