- Mike Brown named D’Tigers coach
D’Tigress players have set their sights on clinching one of the available tickets on offer when they begin their Olympics Qualifiers Tournament campaign against Mozambique today.
Having missed the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil, the high flying team currently ranked 17th in the world on the back of a quarter final finish at the World cup and two back to back Afrobasket wins are motivated to start on a winning note.
Team captain, Adaora Elonu said the game against fellow African team, Mozambique is a must win as they are determined to get the job done within the quickest possible time frame.
“We don’t want to put Nigerians through the harrowing experience of permutation and calculating whether we have to beat Serbia or USA if we lose against Mozambique in our opening game.”
Elonu was quick to rule out the possibilities of the team getting complacent when they face Mozambique at the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in Belgrade.
It would be recalled that D’Tigress in 2019 defeated Mozambique in Maputo during the pre-qualifiers by 57-48 points with Elonu emerging top performer for the team with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist.
The Flammes Carolo of France Power Forward, Evelyn Akhator said, “We are aware of the task ahead of us and the expectations back home in Nigeria and amongst our fans across the world.”
Popularly known as the double-double Queen, Akhator reiterated that, “With our rising profile in global basketball, our presence at the 2020 Olympics is not negotiable. We must do what we have to do to get what is expected of us.”
Multiple Afrobasket winner and 34 year old Aisha Mohammed Balarabe rumoured to be eyeing retirement from the national team fold said, “If it is to give the last pint of our blood while playing Mozambique tomorrow, we shall.”
Winner of the clash will book an automatic ticket to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
In another development, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), has announced the appointment of Mike Brown as head coach of the senior men’s national team ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Currently with the National Basketball Association franchise, Golden State Warriors as an associate head coach, Brown will lead the D’Tigers to Tokyo alongside, Alex Nwora and JP Bikerstaff as the federation is eyeing a successful campaign.
Announcing Brown’s appointment, NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida said the decision was in consonance with the federation’s long term project of turning the team into a global brand while getting the best available resources.
“We know that the Olympics require the highest level of coaching and play, so we are trying to put our best foot forward and represent Nigerians the best way we can. In line with the Honorable Minister’s directive where he challenged federations to aim for a podium finish, we want to see how far we can go.”
Kida announced that Brown’s role in the team is mutually beneficiary to everybody involved as he is expected to bring his years of expertise in coaching basketball around the world when he takes charge of the D’Tigers.
“We are glad that we have been able to seal this deal. This is a win-win situation for everybody involved. The team will have enough coaches (Brown, Bikerstaff and Nwora) to handle them while the federation will focus on other things
The federation assured that the arrival of Coach Brown will enhance the enviable achievements already made by the NBBF in the recent past.
“When we took over the Federation weeks before the 2017 Afrobasket, many people questioned our ability to deliver within such a short time. But here we are, the federation is being commended for taking such smart and bold steps all along. Nigerians must trust our decisions going forward, to build on what we have achieved.”
Brown’s long term commitment to the development of basketball in Nigeria is obvious and should be seen as progressive step.