Nigeria’s D’Tigress started their FIBA Africa Pre-Olympics qualifiers on a winning note after strolling over DR Congo 20-0 points.
The Coach Otis Hughley side performed a walk over ceremony over DR Congo who failed to show up for the competition holding in Maputo, Mozambique.
Currently ranked Number 1 in Africa and 16th in the world, the team shot to the top of Group A with one match to go.
The reigning African champions will now shift their attention to their last group game against host Mozambique on Saturday after booking an automatic semi final ticket.
Winners of the semi final encounters will qualify for the Olympics Qualifying Tournament (QQT) to be hold next year.
The entire team including official AFA Sports ambassador, team captain and MVP Ezinne Kalu have been training relentlessly to bring home the victory.
Speaking live from Maputo yesterday, Ezinne confirmed that the girls were in high spirits and excited about the Pre-Olympic qualifiers.
“We understand how much is riding on these next few games and we are confident that we have done enough to sail through the pre-qualifiers and get a step closer to realising our World Cup dreams.”
Six countries – including hosts Mozambique, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Mali, Nigeria and Senegal – are divided into two groups of three teams each.
They will play a round-robin format in their specific groups with the winner of Group A facing the second team in Group B while the winner of Group B will come up against the second ranked team in Group A in the Semi-Finals.
The two winners of the Maputo-showdown Semi-Finals will not play a Final as they will automatically advance to the 16-nation FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (WOQT) in February next year where the top three teams from each of the three WOQTs will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
If the girls win this round, they will have to play the qualifiers in February before being eligible to represent Nigeria in Tokyo and potentially take home the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Vice President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), Babatunde Ogunade, said, “We are beyond hopeful about our girls’ chances during these next few crucial games and we are grateful for the support we have had thus far. The girls are fired up are highly likely to qualify for the Olympics.”
AFA Sports, the official apparel sponsors have been proud supporters of the women’s team and speaking to Founder, Ugo Udezue, he reiterated that he has every confidence in the girls’ ability to conquer in all their games.
He continued, “AFA are a premium sports apparel brand based in Victoria Island and D’Tigress have been instrumental in bringing the AFA vision to life. We are committed to creating premium performance wear that allows athletes to play to the very best of their abilities and I believe that we are on the verge of watching D’Tigress make history once more.”
D’Tigress, the champions of Africa, succeeded in defending the title they won two years ago after defeating the same team 65-48 in Bamako, Mali in 2017.
Even more impressively, D’Tigress have become the first team to win back-to-back FIBA Women’s AfroBasket titles since Angola followed up their 2011 triumph with another in 2013.