By Joe Apu
The Nigeria national women’s basketball team, D’ Tigress camp in Lagos is bubbling with activities, as the 21 players in camp trained at the Indoor Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.
At the practice sessions yesterday, players from the Orlando, Florida Camp in USA had workouts alongside European and domestic league players with Assistant national team coach Peter Favour Ahmedu and Team Manager Mfon Udoka taking charge.
Meanwhile, Turkey based center, Aisha Mohammed who last featured for Nigeria in 2012 had expressed happiness at her return to the national team and said that she was confident the team will be ready for Mali.
“I have been out of the national team for a while for reasons I would not want to make public but with the new board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, I am ready to make the sacrifice to help our team get back to her rightful place in Africa.
“Nigeria has always been among the top nations in African basketball and we have a task to put Nigeria back in the driver’s seat.
“The crop of players we have can spring surprises and I know we’ll be ready to fight for the podium in Mali.”
Adding voice to Mohammed, Coach Ahmedu who recently won the Zenith Women’s Basketball League with First Bank Elephant Girls said he was impressed with the attitude and response of the girls.
“Right now in camp, we have 21 players comprising of the players from Orlando and from the domestic league. They are all doing well but there’s a need to work on the players intensity because the task in Mali is only for the fit. Every player here in camp deserves their place and the final squad of 12 would be selected based on merit.
“We’re expecting the head coach, Sam Vincent and I want assure that we’ll give Nigerians a good team they can be proud of. The players are determined to make a difference in Mali from August 18-27.”
D’ Tigress were drawn in Group A alongside AfroBasket title holders Senegal, Egypt, Guinea, Mozambique and DR Congo.
Aside from Joyce Ekworomadu and WNBA’s Evelyn Akhator who were yet to report to camp, Ndidi Madu, Adaeze Alaeze, Ezinne Kalu, Cecelia Okoye, Ugo Nwaigwe, Sarah Ogoke, Nkechi Akashili, Upe Atosu, Chioma Udeaja, Akaraiwe Nkem and Adaora Elonu worked out. Others are Grace Okonkwo, Magdalene Ukato, Nwamaka Deborah, Ulabo Queen Roseline and Olaosebikan Tokunbo.
Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, vice president, Babs Ogunade on his part said: “I am happy that I am seeing a lot of fire in the team. I see a lot of confidence on display and camaraderie amongst the players in the camp which for me is crucial to the overall teamwork and output.”