•Kida hails team, federation
Nigeria’s D’Tigress, the reigning African champions, had the biggest move up on the FIBA World Ranking Women of any team, climbing a massive 15 places, from 34th to 19th in the latest listing. D’Tigress achieved this massive climb as a result of an inspiring run in Tenerife, Spain, where they reached the quarter-finals and, along the way, scored historic milestones, including the country’s first-ever win in the Group Phase of the competition and over European opposition, in the shape of Turkey.
According to the FIBA.Basketball release on Friday, USA and Spain were joined by Australia at the top of the FIBA World Ranking Women, presented by Nike, following the Opals’ run to the title game Tenerife.
The USA, on the back of being crowned world champions for the third time in a row (2010, 2014 and 2018) last Sunday, remains comfortably ahead of everyone else. Spain are their nearest rivals after claiming the last step on the podium at the Women’s World Cup which they hosted in Tenerife.
Australia moved up one spot to third in the world following their performance in the competition, where they returned to the final for the first time since winning the world title in 2006. They overtake France, who lost in the quarter-finals stage of the competition.
China were rewarded for reaching the Last Eight of the biggest women’s basketball competition – including knocking out Asian champions and rivals Japan in the quarter-final qualifications – by moving up three spots, from 10th to 7th.
There was also a huge leap for Belgium. The Belgians registered the second biggest jump of any team in 2018, moving up 12 places, from 28th to 16th. This came on the strength of an impressive run on their Women’s World Cup debut that saw them finish fourth, behind USA, Australia and Spain.
Reacting to the latest ranking, NBBF President, Amadu Musa Kida, expressed delight in the hard work of the federation which saw a better prepared and motivated D’Tigress take on the world in a stunning fashion and has finally been recognised.
According to him, “with the recent feat of the team in 2017 when they emerged as African Champions before shocking the world at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, it was just a matter of time before the team took its pride of place.
“What a way to start October for us as a team, federation and lovers of basketball. It was just a matter of time before this happened because the consistency of this team has been so amazing.”
Kida said although the federation was still not satisfied with where the team is, they will savour the new found status while it lasts as the NBBF will continue to work assiduously to ensure future success.
“Now, we have to double our efforts because it will no longer be business as usual. More recognitions bring stiffer oppositions because we are gradually becoming a team to beat.
“Before now, the team was an unknown quantity, but with what they have achieved in the last one year, future opponents will pay more attention to them.”