Olympic Ticket: Diogu, Aminu, excited, as preparations start now for Nwora
By Sampson Adedeji
Nigeria’s D’Tigers are still in cloud nine after sealing the Olympic ticket at the expense of host China in the classification match played on Sunday at Guangzhou.
Despite playing in front of their home fans, China find the D’Tigers hardnut to crack and succumbed to a defeat 86-73 BSN reports.
It was the type of performance that could prove momentous for Nigeria, who have now qualified for their third straight Olympics. “It was a character builder for our team,” Nigeria star Al-Farouq Aminu said.
“We didn’t accomplish everything we wanted to in China but we set a new goal to make the Olympics and we did so.
“I remember when I joined the team in 2012 we said we did not want to miss an Olympics. It’s a beautiful feeling (to qualify). It’s amazing.”
Veteran Ike Diogu believed Nigerian basketball was an emerging force. “We feel right now is the golden age for Nigerian basketball and we have a lot of exciting up and coming players,” he said.
“We just want to keep on building and have a good showing in Japan. It feels really good knowing that we are going back to the Olympics.”
Nigeria coach Alexander Nwora praised his team’s determination and was confident they could make some noise in Tokyo.
“We have a lot of talent but we showed resiliency,” he said. “We weren’t going to settle with leaving China with a loss.
“We’re going to make the necessary preparations now so that we can be very, very good at the Olympics.