Nigeria’s bronze winning contingent to the recently concluded FIBA U-16 Africa Basketball Championship in Cape Verde will arrive the Murtala International Airport by 11:40am Nigeria time on Wednesday.
The team departed Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde 22:00 (12am Nigerian time) yesterday to arrive in Senegal where plans have been concluded for the team to take a tour of the prestigious NBA and Aspire Academies in Dakar before departing Senegal for Nairobi.
The team finished third on the log at the recently concluded FIBA U16 African Basketball championship in Cape Verde beating Guinea 54-53 in the losers final on Sunday.
President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Musa Kida, through the team’s NBBF representative, Suraj Yusuf, revealed his admiration for the boys after their feat coming third against all odds.
National Coordinator of the Nestlé Milo Basketball Championship, Sam Ahmedu, one of the delegation to Cape Verde has also redeemed his pledge to the team after their victory against Guinea in the third place match.
The team started the game brightly shaking off Saturdays semifinal defeat to Mali taking the game 20-10 in the first quarter but the momentum watered down in the second as they could only get three points as the Guineans fought back to take the second quarter 13-3 to end the first half tied 23-23 points.
The third quarter ended in favour of the Guineans 14-11 but a spirited comeback in the final quarter of the game from the Nigerians saw them take the game 20-16 to win the game by one point 54-53.
Speaking after the game Head Coach of the team Fubara Onyanabo said he is excited about the outcome of the game and seeing the boys take the third position remains a consolation which they can build on in the future.
“I am really excited, it was a very tensed game and I could not take my eyes off the board in the final quarter of the game because the Guineans kept coming at us but the boys held their nerves for the win.
“I am disappointed we didn’t get the World Cup ticket, we tried our best and I am sure we will do better next time. It goes to show that with proper preparation, Nigeria can do better at these competitions. We have abundance of talents in this country I must say that for certain.”
Nigeria has matched their best performance at the tournament. The country finished third at the maiden edition of the competition in 2009.
In the final match, Egypt dethroned defending champions Mali to win their fourth title of the U16 championship and will head into the 2020 U17 FIBA World Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria as Africa champions.