Monday, September 17, 2018 5:55 pm
Some basketball fans have commended Nigeria’s senior national men’s team, D’Tigers for their heroics at the just-concluded FIBA Africa World Cup qualifiers which held in Lagos.
D’Tigers defeated Cote D’Ivoire, 84-73, overpowered Central Africa Republic, 114- 69 and silenced archrivals, Senegal 89-61 to book their ticket for the World Cup which comes up in February in China in 2019.
The head coach of Senegal, Abdou Ndiaye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that D’Tigers had shown great quality and he was proud to play against the team.
“We played against a very good team that bonded well and had the best skills the continent can be proud of.
“We struggled with them in this competition and hopefully, we will go back and do our homework and try to engineer something better in the future.
“We learnt a lot from this loss; it is good it came this way, we have to build a positive approach next time and hope get the ticket to the World Cup,’’ Ndiaye said.
Similarly, Maleye Ndoye, the Senegalese team captain, extolled the array of qualities in D’Tigers and admitted that it wasn’t easy to catch up with the team.
“We played against a very formidable set of players who play in the top leagues in Europe and in the U.S., we tried to compete but it wasn’t easy.
“We knew from the beginning trying to beat Nigeria at home was going to be tough, and unfortunately the scoreline showed how badly we competed.
“But you have to give it to D’Tigers, they deserve the accolade, we just have to up our game next time we meet in February,’’ Ndoye said.
Senegalese forward player Gorgui Dieng also admitted D’Tigers quality and said that the team had shown good stuff and was very proud of how they played.
“We played against a team that had a wonderful game plan that was well executed, the team is also blessed with skillful players that knows how to get the job done.
“I congratulate the team, they deserve a lot of praise,’’ Dieng said.
Meanwhile, the Head coach of the D’Tigers, Alex Nwora, told NAN that he could not have achieved the feat but for the tactical discipline and the quality of the team.
“It’s a great thing to qualify for the World Cup, we are happy and most especially, the guys have contributed to the success story, they are just awesome.
“They showed a lot of good sportsmanship that makes us proud, for this, we are grateful for the way they played to qualify Nigeria.
“Most importantly, I am grateful to the team captain, Ike Diogu, for his leadership qualities and being able to carry the team along,’’ Nwora said.
The coach added that the team was not yet a finished product in spite of qualifying for the World Cup.
“We cannot relax now as we are not satisfied yet with our accomplishments, we have to keep preparing ahead of the World Cup.
“We want to go to the World Cup with quality players and do the nation proud,’’ Nwora said.
Nigeria, Tunisia, Greece, Germany and host China have all booked their tickets to the upcoming World Cup.