Head coach of Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club Ogoh Odaudu is expecting a tough challenge when the 2019 Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Premier League dunks off on Sunday in Ilorin.
Rivers Hoopers alongside 12 other teams in the Atlantic Conference have been invited to Ilorin while 10 other teams will battle it out in the Savannah Conference in Zaria from Sunday, October 20 to Monday, October 28.
With only one slot awarded to Nigeria in the newly formed Basketball Africa league scheduled to begin in March 2020, Odaudu believes it will be a tough battle against any team.
“It is a very tough task. No team will be easy with this kind of situation and you can't afford to have any slip ups or make any mistake,” said Odaudu.
“You have to approach each game with 100 percent level of seriousness. We won’t underrate any player or any team we are going to approach each game as if we are playing the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals. We are going to do our best to finish top and hopefully grab the one slot awarded to Nigeria”.
The Lagos State Basketball Association started a City League in June and Odaudu thinks it has handed the Lagos based teams an advantage over others due to inactivity of the National League.
“It is a great advantage for the Lagos teams. Practice is entirely different from playing matches they have played lots of matches in the City League experiencing different ball situations. It will affect us but hopefully with the team that we have and amount of talent on the team, we are confident that we can overcome them.”
Rivers Hoopers will leave Port Harcourt on Saturday morning for Ilorin, venue of the 2019 NBBF Premier League.
The National Final 8 of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women Basketball League will take place at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos from October 17-24, 2019.
Following the conclusion of the Conference playoffs in Ibadan, First Bank of Lagos maintained their unbeaten run in the 2019 season to top the Atlantic Conference ahead of MFM who finished second.
Dolphins and Asaba based Delta Force finished third and fourth respectively to confirm their spots in the Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League National final 8.
In the Savannah Conference played in Abuja, Air Warriors stayed true to their name as they defeated all seven oppositions to qualify for the National Finals on a high while Customs under Coach AbdulRahman Mohammed finished second.
Plateau Rocks and Zenith Bank sponsored league debutants, Blackgold Queens will also be coming to Lagos after their impressive display at the conference phase.
The two National finalists will qualify for the 2019 FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers to be hosted in Cotonou, Benin Republic from October 28 to November 3.
Babatunde Ogunade, popularly known as "Babs", was inducted into the Hall of Fame of UNILAG, in 2005. To qualify for the hall of fame honors in the University of Lagos, you had to be representing the University and the senior National teams of your individual sport Simultaneously.
He studied History and English at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
After gaining admission into UNILAG, 1977/1978 session, Babs partook in Nigeria University Games (NUGA) and played for D'Tigers at the Africa Games, Algiers, Algeria.
He graduated in 1981.
Other athletes who simultenously played for Nigeria, while in school, were Dr. Alaba Evboma; a Vertinary Surgeon from the University of Ibadan and Barrister Athanasius Tyodem from Ahmadu Bello University who studied Law. Peter Nelson did the same, but played in the Junior category.
In addition to the Hall of fame inductees we have; Dr. Bode Karunwi, Mr. Yinka Fisher, Mr. Garien Siekpe(Cricket). Chief. Chris Olufunlola Okunnowo,Dr. Evelyn Urhobo, Ahmed Adio (Athletics), Adokiye Amiesiamaka, Felix Owolabi (Football) . Dr Babasola Thomas (swimming) Cecilia Arinye (Table Tennis) and many others. There are still many other Athletes waiting their induction into the illustrious group.
After a wakeup call, missing the second round of the World Cup championship in China, the D'Tigers of Nigeria managed to secure the Olympic ticket by being one of the top seven teams, at the on going tournament.
Nigeria matched out against the host team China, with a fully packed gymnasium, and were able to secure the deciding victory, 73-86.
The game which started on a slow momentum for the winning team, picked up from the second quarter till the end.
Josh Okogie had a perfect scoring performance at the free throw line, with 9/9, Ekpe Udoh and Stan Okoye too.
Nnamdi Vincent showed he is one of the best "catch and shoot" athlete on the squad; he sunk a long trey and another under pressure from the defender, without putting the ball of the floor. He had a 100% on two point range, 2/2.
In summary here are the stats:
#20 Josh Okogie 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assist, 3 steals, 2 blocks
#8 Ekpe Udoh: 13 points, 2 rebounds1 steal
#10 Chimezie Metu: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
#22 Nnamdi Vincent: 11 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal.
"A medal or quarterfinals would have been nice, but team Nigeria accomplished something big, which kept the dream alive." said a fan.
Looking forward to the next as the president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, celebrates with his team and officials for the wonderful results from both the women and men.
After loosing two consecutive games, and winning the last two, the D'Tigers of Nigeria seek to be amongst the teams listed for Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers.
From the recent event, Nigeria defeated Cote D'Ivoire 83,66.
They have one more game against the host China, to qualify for the Olympic qualifier.
The senior women's team, gave their support over social media, as they await their men to join them. Even though the female team won the Nation's Cup, they still have to partake at the Olympic qualifier; so hopefully both them and the male teams would journey together.
The heated game between Nigeria and Cote D'Ivoire was a stepping stone to this achievement, while both teams sought relevance for the same goal. It is worthy of note that Cote D'Ivoire beat Nigeria in a home game to qualify for the world cup. This encounter, was what separated the men from the boys.
While other teams, who qualified for the next round square it out amongst themselves, team Nigeria has other plans to make this work.
Without further ado, Stan Okoye had a terrific 100% in 3-point shots, as he knocks down three of them in a row. Plus a free throw to end up with 10 points.
Jordan Nwora did not play due to injured ankle.
Al-Farouq Aminu came out hot, with great show or play and support to and from teammates.
Ekpe Udoh, showcased his massive defensive play at the paint, especially with two blocks, to deter the opposition from scoring.
Overall, here are the bullets
#22 Nnamdi Vincent: 15 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals
#7 Al-farouq Aminu: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
#8 Ekpe Udoh: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks
#4 Ben Uzoh: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
#5 Stan Okoye: 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block
Nigeira would square it out with the home team, China on Sunday.
Would Nigeria seal the deal and book the ticket to the Olympic qualifiers?
Nigerian D'Tigers lost to Russia in a tough competitive match, 82-77.
Both teams went toe-to-toe with each other, but more oppotunities were converted to points by the Russians. After trailing from behind, Nigeria's highest lead was six points, but failed to maintain it at the last quarter.
Head coach Alex Nwora admitted the errors made, and they would see to it that they perform better upcoming games, as they prepare to qualify for the next round.
Team Nigeria had a deficit of five points at the end of the first and fourth quarter.
With the plans, plays and executions, five players came out with two-digits in points.
#20 Josh Okogie: 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
#22 Nnamdi Vincent: 11 points, 1 assist, 3 steals
#10 Chimezie Metu: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
#7 Al-Farouq Aminu: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
#33 Jordan Nwora: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
They face Argentina on Monday.
Nigeria kept a clean slate after breaking the Senegalese own at the finals, defeating them at their home, 60-55.
The most anticipated game was more than what the fans bargained for. While the 15,000 seat capacity of the stadium was fully booked, the D'Tigress broke the hearts of home fans, and got the much needed respect they deserved. Both team had not lost any game, and this final was the decider.
In 2017, Nigeria had a clean sweep of the tournament 8-0, while this year, 5-0; a total of 13-0 in two series of the tournament. Nigeria is also the second team to win back-2-back, after Angola.
It must be the jersey.
Team D'Tigress were at the verge of not coming into the 2017 Afrobasket Women's tournament with a kit sponsor.
The previous sponsor backed out prior to the tournament, however an indigenous brand AFA Sports stepped in to provide the team with their high end jerseys. The rest is history.
AFA Sports has had a high influx of demand by fans, other sports, and countries worldwide. Their innovative designs and materials are catchy and durable.
Also the hard work and dedication by the General Manager, Mactabene Amarachee, who has relentlessly put her staff together, was no child's play. The former captain of the D'Tigress alongside everyone was pleased with the achievements.
The coaching crew led by Otis Hughley would never be forgotten in a hurry. Otis led team Nigeria to their first ever quarter finals at the World in 2018, and led D'Tigress to a win far better than the previous.
Meanwhile, Aisha Balarade nee Mohammed unlocked another achievement, by being the only player in Nigeria and probably Africa, to win four Afrobasket Women's championship. 2003,2005, 2017 and 2019.
Another new record is Dakar Arena registering biggest crowd in African basketball history.
Ezinne Kalu win the tournament MVP Award with 13 points, 3.2 assists, 3 steals and 2.6 rebounds per game, while Evelyn Akhator 11 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Both made it to the Top 5.
A recap of top statistics at the finals
#13 Evelyn Akhator 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals
#23 Ezinne Kalu: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals
#10 Promise Amukamara: 12 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist
All Nigerian ladies did exceptionally great in their endevours to support one another to this stage. We look forward to another exciting episode.
Next stop...Olympics 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
With five consecutive wins, the D'Tigress of Nigeria defeat Mali, at the semi finals 79-58.
A light reminder that both teams met each other at this stage, hosted by Mali in 2017. Nigeria won with a single point; 48-47. However, on neutral ground the outcome was glaring. The D'Tigress took control of the game, mostly from the first quarter with a difference of 13 points, and the Malians could not recover till the final blow of the whistle.
Joy in the air, plus tension as it boils down to another rematch at the finals: Nigeria vs host team Senegal.
There's no going back. This might be the toughest, but the Nigerian squad led by Otis Hughley are up to the task. The journey of a thousand miles, that began with a step is already at hand.
Evelyn Akhator came up with what she's known for -double-double- with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Nigeria players came out great, but based on scoring, these are with more outstanding performance;
#23 Ezinne Kalu: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal
#11 Adaora Elonu: 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
#13 Evelyn Akhator: 12 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
#21 Atonye Nyingifa: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
#52 Ify Ibekwe: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals
The campaign to defend the title continues as the D'Tigress of Nigeria beat the Democratic Republic of Congo, 79-46 to qualify for the semi-finals.
At this stage, team Nigeria also qualified for the pre-qualifying Olympic tournament in Tokyo, 2020.
Not just defending the title, but the higher goal, embeded into the mind of the players, streamlined their focus to making sure every move counts. The coach reiterated the importance of teamwork, to acheive more. With thier eyes set on the Olympics, they take each win one step at a time.
"We are one step closer to our goal" said head coach, Otis Hughley.
The Nigerian fans came in full colours to show their never ending support.
D'Tigress dominated all quarters to seal the deal.
#23 Ezinne Kalu 17 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals
#25 Victoria Macauley 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
#11 Adaora Elonu: 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals
The semi final match comes up tomorrow, against Mali; a rematch of the 2017 semi finals.
The onslaught continues for the defending champions as the D'Tigress of Nigeria wiped out team Cameroon, 39-106.
Led by Otis Hughley and his coaching crew, the cohesion of the players growth was glaring.
Added to this, the last time both countries met at the same event was in 2015, semi finals, where Cameroon was the host. Cameroon defeated Nigeria 70-71; a single point.
In less than 5 minutes into the game, the winning team started off with a 17-0 run!
The Cameroonians tried to fight back to cover lost grounds, but it was too late. Game ended with a 67 point deficit, in favour of Nigeria.
In an outstanding moment, four of the Nigerians players made 14 points a piece. They are listed below:
#11 Adaora Elonu: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal;
#10 Promise Amukamara: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals;
#09 Aisha Balarabe: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal;
#52 Ify Ibekwe: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals;
#23 Ezinne Kalu: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals.
With these statistics, Nigeria is top in Points Per Game, Total Points, Field Goal Shooting, 2 Point Field Goals, Rebounds, and Efficiency.
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