D’Tigers’ Captain, Ike Diogu, has blamed the conflicting schedule of the FIBA international calendar for the continued absence of members of the 2015 Afrobasket winning side from the national team fold.

Diogu dispelled rumours of conflicts between the players and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) as reasons for their continued absence saying the players remain patriotic and ready to serve.

As captain of the men’s senior national team, the Sichuan Blue Whales of China player confirmed that he has continued to maintain communication with the players.

Diogu said the conflicting international calendar of FIBA for the qualifiers has not really helped the 2015 team who have all expressed their readiness to feature for D’Tigers.

He said it will be unfair to compare him (who plays in China) with other players in the NBA and Europe with longer seasons.

“The good thing with me playing in China is that I have a lot of flexibility as my season is a lot shorter than these guys playing in Europe or NBA.

“I don’t really need much notice but some of these guys need more of the notice than they are given, so they are not able to get out of their engagements.”

The player who has continued to be a regular in the team under Alex Nwora confirmed that the bulk of the 2015 set are ready to be part of the project being embarked on by the federation.

“I talked to Stan Okoye, Olaseni Lawal, Al-Farouk and Alade Aminu, Chamberlain Oguchi. All of those guys want to be here and support us. We are one big family and there is no animosity. There is nobody who does not want to play, we all love playing for Nigeria.”

He is hopeful that come September, some of the players will be around to help the team qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Lagos, Nigeria is hosting Group F which Senegal, Central Africa, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali between the 14th and 16th of September. Nigeria currently lead the pack with 12 points from 6 games.

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