- Men’s team, D’Tigers, take on Cote d’Ivoire friday in Lagos
Nigeria’s D’Tigress have been urged to compete clean and fair when hostilities begin at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Tenerife, Spain.
Speaking at the send forth ceremony held for the glory seeking Nigerian girls on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja thursday, Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, told D’Tigress that they have the backing of the whole country as they embark on the journey to Spain.
“It is the belief of this government that for every competition, you should compete clean and fair. The country is standing solidly behind you. We are looking out for you with hope that with hardwork, you can bring the trophy home.”
Dalung said that the Ministry under his watch was giving equal opportunities to all sports men and women to excel at the grassroots and international stage.
“We are deliberately looking toward the development of female sports and we believe that once we are able to equitably tackle the inbalance between the men’s football, women’s football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, our women will do us proud because they have less of the controversies compared to the men,” stressed Dalung.
The Minister thanked the players for their dedication and willingness to heed the clarion call to represent Nigeria in Spain.
“I want to thank you sincerely for honouring the invitation to come to camp, for considering service to your country as a priority. You are a team that is very compact, driven by common interest and also determined.
“I believe that the sky will be the limit of this team”, he concluded.
In her response, the team’s captain, Adaora Elonu promised that D’Tigress will do their best to give a good representation of the country who will be playing at the competition as African Champions.
Elonu thanked the NBBF President, Musa Kida, for ensuring the team’s early call to camp and early preparations to stand a chance of competing seriously at the World Cup.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation President who was represented by the Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade thanked the Minister for his support since they were sworn in in 2017.
“We cannot thank you enough for your level of support to the board. You have shown yourself to be a good and dependable father. Like Oliver Twist, we still ask for more.”
At the ceremony were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr Olusade Adesola, the President, Nigeria Olympic Committee Habu Gumel and other staff of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s senior male team, D’Tigers will start their campaign in the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers today in Lagos.
The team billed to face Cote d’Ivoire in the first game of their second round qualifier scheduled for the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos is determined to get the job done and keep to their unbeaten run as they continue their journey of picking a World Cup ticket.
D’Tigers’ point guard, Ben Uzoh who has been a constant decimal in the team since 2015 remarked that “it feels good to be back in Lagos again amongst the coaches, players and the fans in their quest to continue building support at home”.
He described the team as a united unit focused on bringing glory to Nigeria. “We are brothers. Behind the scene we are always in group chats.
“We keep in touch, we joke, we bounce a lot of ideas off each other behind the scene.”
Although he is not giving anything to chance regarding their opposition, Uzoh said D’Tigers will continue to work hard in ensuring they maintain their unbeaten run.
“Obviously, those teams have been working hard and preparing to put their best foot forward just as much as we are, but I am just excited to be amongst such great talents again. It’s going to be fun because we look forward to the competition.”