Alex Nwora, the head coach of the senior men’s national basketball team, D’Tigers, said on Thursday that the team was capable of fighting its way through in the upcoming FIBA World Cup qualifiers in Lagos.
Nwora told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the team had the depth and quality to win all matches and called for home support for the team.
NAN reports that D’Tigers had defeated Rwanda, Mali and Uganda in Bamako, Mali in 2017.
The teams will file out for the second and final round of matches at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, from June 29 to July 1.
He said: “We have played some friendly games and have done so well in blending the team and hopefully, we will get the best results.
“The team has relatively new players, but they are individuals that have the heart to play for their country.
“Those who were involved in the last qualifiers are engaged in summer championships in the US, so we had to select from the variety of players that were free.’’
Nwora’s 19-year-old son, Jordan, who plays college basketball with University of Louisville, US is among many newly invited players who will be making their debut.
He said: “I am proud of the selection of players by the federation, Nigeria is blessed with abundant talents and it is very important we explore that opportunity.
“I think that they have also done well with the friendly games they organised to get the players ready for the matches.
“It is going to be tough, but I expect us to do well at the end and qualify for the World Cup which is a good development for our basketball.’’
Also, the team’s captain, Ike Diogu, told NAN that he was proud to lead the team, especially a team that is filled with many young players who are committed and determined.
Diogu said: “We are looking forward to playing together and taking each game at a time and hopefully get the best result in the competition.
“We know other teams have done well by recruiting quality players, but we are just optimistic of getting the ticket in the end.
“We want Lagos fans to come and support us as we strive to achieve this feat.’’
D’Tigers will face Uganda in their opening match on June 29 before playing Rwanda and Mali on June 30 and July 1 respectively.
The FIBA World Cup will hold in China from August 31 to September 15 and no fewer than 32 nations will participate in the tournament.