D’Tigers head coach Alex Nwora has backed the team to make a big impact at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following their impressive performance at the ongoing FIBA Men’s World Cup in China.
The West Africans overcame a nervous moments in the final quarter of their last classification to record a decisive 86-73 victory against host nation China at the full-packed and intimidating Guanzghou Gymnasium on Sunday.
Nwora’s charges finished the FIBA Basketball World Cup with a 3-2 record (three wins and two losses) and sealed direct qualification to the Olympics.
This will be Nigeria’s third consecutive Olympics appearance after they made their debut at the London 2012 Games before returning to the big stage at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as the reigning African champions and finishing 11th.
“I feel great, we wanted to win a medal, but we have to settle to go to the Olympics. I learnt a lot from this and I hope that in future we will do better. When we were up by eight points, we made the necessary adjustments, we made sure the mistake made against Russia was not repeated. It was a learning process for me and the players,” Nwora stated in an interview after the game.
“We got better with every game and this was very important for us. We have the talent to compete against any team in the world. We qualified straight for the Olympics.
”I’m proud of the Federation [NBBF] for this opportunity. I’m proud of my team manager, Musa Adamu for assembling this team. He has done a good job right from day one.
“I have been here for the past two years and I can’t think of any other better association to work with. The Federation is great, they orchestrated this. For two years we have been building this team and I give credit to Engineer Kida for his support. ”
Nwora also harps on the need for DTigers to prepare very well for the Olympics in Tokyo.
”It’s up to the federation to start early and the government must help too so that we can have early preparation. Scouting too must be done early. Some teams will still play in the Olympic qualifiers. I can make time with the general manager to spy those teams physically,” Nwora added.
“Keeping this group together is also very important. I previously said we have the talents to play against any team in the world. Now that we know our strengths and weaknesses, we can put it together moving forward. ”