Some basketball fans have commended the D’Tigers for getting so far in defence of their title, in spite of their short preparation to defend their Afrobasket championship title won in 2015.
The fans told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday that the players, coaches and ex-players that they team did their possible best to defend the title in of their short peiod of preparation.
Nigeria lost to co-hosts Tunisia 65-77 in the final of the competition on Saturday in Tunis.
NAN reports that the Nigeria Basketball Federation(NBBF), led by Musa Kida, appointed officials and camped the invited players for two weeks in Lagos ahead of the championship.
NAN also reports that the Kida-led NBBF did the same ahead of the Women Afrobasket in August, where D’Tigress restored the nation’s glory by winning the continental cup after 12 years.
Sani Ahmed, a former D’Tigers coach and chief coach, Kano Pillars Basketball, Club, the leading team in the nation’s premiership said D’Tigers did their possible best.
“I think they did their best, looking at the fact that the team was put together two weeks before the competition.
“That has a role to play when they meet a team like co-hosts, Tunisia that they stopped in 2015 from winning the cup on their own soil and in the presence of their teeming fans.
“The Tunisians were desperate for a defence, prepared and achieved, we need to put our house in order to and be more serious to get better in basketball.
“Nigeria needs to ensure that camp opens for more than one month and that the team plays friendly matches and more fund provided.
“Nigeria has abundant talents to rule the continent and possibly the world in basketball, government and other stakeholders should do more to harness these talents,” Ahmed said.
He also urged the Federal Government to give fair treatment to all sports saying, “Gold is Gold, Silver is Silver irrespective of the sport that brought such.”
Also, Paul Gombuar, Coach, Defenders Basketball Club, Abuja, owned by Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), another premiership league club, said “D’Tigers put up a good game.
“If they train together longer than they did, they will dominate the continent,” Gombuar said.
Olumide Oyedeji, a former captain of D’Tigers and an ex-NBA player as well as a current member, FIBA Players Commission and owner, Hoops &Reeds, a Lagos-based Premiership Club, commended the team for their great exploit.
“D’Tigers performance in Tunisia was brilliant, they did well when nobody gave them any chance,” he said.
Similarly, Sam Oguche, a former D’Tigers player and ex-international in Europe and the U.S. commended the NBBF for presenting a formidable team that did wonders with their brief camping.
“D’Tiggers did a great job by coming second in the continental championship; well done to the crew for doing a great job.
“We took a very young team to the competition this time around, let’s keep them together and continue to build them.
“I am very proud of this team and I wish them the best of luck in their future matches,” Oguche said.
Also, Stanley Gumut, a former D’Tigers player and current Captain, Mark Mentors Club, Abuja, a premiership side in the country said the D’Tigers had great performance in Tunisia.
In spite the loss, D’Tigers Captain, Ike Diogu still emerged Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament, scoring 132 points in six matches.
Similarly, Nigerian guard, Ikenna Iroegbu who made his Afrobasket debut for Nigeria was also named in the tournament’s Best Five.
The 34-year-old Iroegbu, power forward, who recorded a tournament-high also averaged 8.7 rebounds per game at the 16-team FIBA Africa’s most important competition.