Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, is through to the 2022 World Cup tournament scheduled for Australia in September and they did it despite having no training camp and arriving in Belgrade two days to the commencement of the tournament.
They made history by beating France for the first time ever and held on to outgun Mali to claim one of the tickets.
However, the coach of the team, Otis Hughley, and the only point guard in the squad, Promise Amukamara, said in the post-match conference that things would be a lot better for the team if the divided Nigeria Basketball Federation could pull together in the same direction.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation has two presidents at the moment – Musa Kida and Igoche Mark. D’Tigress basically played three matches in four days with just eight players.
When Coach Otis Hughley was asked what the next logical step will be for D’Tigress, he said, “I think it is emblematic [of the potential] of having three games in four days with eight players and one point guard, who is really a two by the way.
“For them to do what they did; you know that speaks by itself. There is not a whole lot you can add to that. You are just going to be putting more icing on top of icing; the cake is already good. They will eat it for years to come.
“It is ready. You just hope somebody doesn’t come behind to mess it up. I just pray that Nigeria pulls it together because it is really unfair to the basketball community. I think they are gonna try-they are trying to pull it together now. These girls did it despite all that. Put that in a movie, nobody will believe it,” he added.
This tournament was special to us because we battled a lot of adversities before getting here,” said Amukamara.
“We had Ezinne Kalu injure herself at the beginning of the season so I knew I had to step up and take on the point guard role, leader role [even though] I am not very vocal and that was a challenge for me.
“And then all the stuff about the Federation and to get here. This was the best one as we were able to play everything together to just come here and win. I think we really believed in ourselves no matter what adversity it was, we believed in ourselves.”
Amukamara, in optimistic tones, added, “If everything is put in place and all the players come back healthy, the sky is the limit.
The second point guard played 100 minutes in the three matches and showed heart and determination to lead her team over France and Mali.
“If we get back healthy, get all our players back, have time to train- I think the sky will be the limit for us.”
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