Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress have been handed a tough draw at the upcoming rescheduled Olympics tournament. The Nigerian team is in Group B with the USA, France, and Japan.
In a shift from the norm, the format of the tournament has changed. Where there used to be two groups of six teams, the International Olympic Committee [IOC] with basketball’s governing body, FIBA, there will now be three groups of four teams.
The USA women’s team is the top-ranked team in the world; France is ranked fifth, and Japan is 10th on the ranking table with the Nigerian team in 14th place. The 2021 Olympic Games will be the second for the women’s team, after their first appearance at the 2004 edition. The pedigree of the team has improved recently, and they have been crowned FIBA AfroBasket champions in consecutive tournaments in 2017 and 2019.
Their first opponent will be the USA on July 27 and the American team’s coach, Dawn Staley, told the AP, “Nigeria is getting better every year, France is always a tough team to play and Japan has such a different style of play than what we’re used to seeing, plus they’re the home team.
“We are not looking past any of these opponents. We know that we will have to beat the best of the competition to make it to the top of the podium.”
Also, the men’s national team, D’Tigers, also landed in Group B, but they will face off Australia and the winners of the qualifiers that are scheduled for Serbia and Croatia.
The team that will be led to Tokyo by Mike Brown has been boosted by the drafting of eight Nigerians in 2020 to the NBA.
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