Nigeria’s men’s national basketball team, D’Tigers, will begin their quest to qualify for the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 tournament on Thursday when they face South Sudan at the Kigali Arena.
The team is led by new coach Mike Brown, who traveled ahead of the invited players to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on Monday.
Nigeria is in Group D with South Sudan [they replaced Algeria], Mali and hosts Rwanda. Brown published the 20-player roster in the first week of November with the players heading to fly directly to Kigali. Ike Diogu is back with Mike Gbinije, while Festus Ezeli has been called up for the first time.
In a report on Twitter, NBBF president Musa Kida said the federation had helped the team prepare to make sure they qualified smoothly. “We are not ignoring the enormous task before us to secure another perfect qualification for Afrobasket.
“We know that millions of Nigerians expect us to qualify without drama, and that is exactly what we are working for,” Kida said.
A basketball enthusiast and commentator, Femi Adefeso, told reporters that she expects a bit of a fight from this D’Tigers because “he is a new coach and a different team. [to the one that went to the 2019 World Cup]. “
But he hopes that Diogu’s return will give the team the necessary direction and leadership. “Diogu has always been our constant Mr. and this could be his last national assignment, which means he will be doubly motivated to help the team achieve the desired result.”
In the case of South Sudan, Adefeso said the Nigerian team must be “careful”. They are said to have the highest population in Africa and could present a son of the late Manute Bol in Riak Bol.
Adefeso added that they should expect the Malians to be a tough opposition, while the home team, despite an empty stadium, will have been encouraged by President Paul Kagame’s interest in the team.
The FIBA website states that “Twenty teams will participate in the second qualifying round for FIBA AfroBasket 2021. The top three teams from each group will automatically qualify for FIBA AfroBasket 2021 to be held in Rwanda.” .