D’Tigress of Nigeria are in high spirit and top shape to take on Cote d’Ivoire in today’s quarter final of the ongoing Afrobasket championship in Bamako, Mali. The Nigerian women are drawing confidence from their 58points to 54 win against the Afrobasket defending champions, Senegal in their last group game of the competition on Wednesday.. The game which was befitting of a final between the two teams who until the encounter had gone unbeaten in their groups with four wins each to their credit saw the Palais Des Sports Salamatou, Maiga, Bamako thrown into a frenzy during the 1hr and 40minutes match . Evelyn Akhator turned up on the night despite the massive support from the travelling Senegalese fans who were also backed by their French speaking counterparts and hosts- Mali.
The Dallas Wings players led by example with 15points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal as the team confirmed it’s superiority over the team they defeated at the group stage of the 2015 edition. Nyingifa Atonye contributed with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 points, Adaora Elonu gave the team 10points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds while inspiring Kalu Ezinne who was all over the court dictating the tempo helped with 11points. Reacting after the game, the head coach of the side, Sam Vincent stressed the need to keep celebrations to the barest minimum ahead of the crunchy quarter final tie against Cote d’Ivoire who finished fourth in their group. Peter Ahmedu who is the 1st assistant coach to Vincent praised the girls for defying all odds and showing a commendable level of resilience to maintain their lead till the end of the game after taking the initiative in the fi rst quarter. He traced the victory to the due diligence and scouting reports put together by the technical crew.
“We were able to study the Senegalese off and on the court. Th e style we deployed yesterday was a diff erent ball game to what they expected and it was very helpful. We are happy and grateful to God that we came out victorious. “Senegal being the defending champions were under a lot of pressure. We told the players, go to the court and play your game.” He reasoned that for the team to have actually won despite not playing one of their best games in the competition, Nigerians should be hopeful that on a good day, the team will defeat any opposition to clinch their third Afrobasket trophy.
“We did not actually play the way we should have played yesterday, but as bad as we played, we were able to come out victorious. It means if we actually put our house in order, at the end of this championship, we will have cause to glorify God. The President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Engineer Musa Kida arrived Bamako, Mali yesterday to bosst the morale of the team ahead of today’s game against Cote d’Ivoire.