It is old news that Africa resources is being used worldwide, in "developed" countries, while the source is still "developing". This does not only go for mineral resources, but manpower. Now, this is not a complaint, but we have a long way to go to build our homelands.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand; Nigerian basketball players are proving themselves to be elite players in foreign land, - giving them honours to say the least - for the opportunities provided. I mean, who wants to miss such a chance? Each one of them has worked themselves off and broken limits to be amongst the 12 to represent a whole nation.
1. Nneka Ogwumike (USA)
Starting with the most popular, Nneka Ogwumike is not new to the scene and has been very popular and active in the basketball realm. She and her younger sister Chineye Ogwumike went on to be the first WNBA players, as siblings, to feature at the All Stars games. Nneka has won both rookie and MVP in the WNBA. In no surprise she got the MVP title at the recently concluded FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifiers (FIBAOQT), Serbia. Nneka topped the tournament, at Field Goal Shooting (68%).
2. Natalie Achonwa (Canada)
Nat is a high and low end defensive player, who averaged 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. She tops team Canada in Efficiency (18.0) and rebounds, with second in scoring. Her worst game, during FIBAOQT, Belgium was the first against the host. Achonwa played 18 minutes, but came up with only six points. After that; she geared up with her game face, against Sweden and Japan; scoring 16 and 18 points respectively. She is not new to the Olympics haven attended twice. Tokyo may be her last.
3. Temi Fagbenle (England)
Temitope is one of the athletes who is deep rooted with her roots and flaunts it occasionally. As the top player representing Great Britain, she averaged 25 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals. Despite her high performance, it was not enough for her to get another shot at the Olympics. China, Korea and Spain displayed more dominance in the group of death. A player, and an artist, we hope to see more of Temitope's exploits on and off the court.
4. Liz Cambage (Australia)
Tall (6'8 ft) and energetic Elizabeth Cambage drew serious attention with her personality and prowess on and off the court. She led team Australia literarily with triple doubles at the end of the FIBAOQT, France, to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics proper. Not just the team, but the whole tournament! Elizabeth topped in; Points per Game (26.3), Total Points (79), Free Throws (89.7%), Rebounds per Game (11.0), Total Rebounds (33), Blocks per Game (2.3) and Efficiency (28.7). Despite her performance, she did not get the MVP title in France and the much contested MVP title by fans at 2018 Women's World Cup, which was given to Breanna Stewart from USA.
5. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe(Canada)
Light on her feet and clear floor vision, the high spirited Nayo, is a supportive athlete, feeding off on defensive rebounds and assists. She also features for the Canadian 3x3 team; a specialist on that end. Nayo, at the end of the tournament, averaged 6 points 5 rebounds and 2 assists. She also played a vital role in the downfall of Nigeria, during the 2018 World Cup (Canada 73-72 Nigeria), as she picked up vital defensive rebounds, scored 10 points, and was the most efficient player on the Canadian team.
6. Ezi Magbegor (Australia)
Teammate to Liz Cambage and plays the Forward position, plus a decent height of 6'4, Ezi manages to average seven points per game, with 4.3 rebounds, and 1 assist. Owning to lesser play time against France (two minutes), scoring nothing, her average points was significantly affected, for with 19 minutes of play against Puerto Rico, she made 15 points. At age 20, her steady improvement in her position looks steady.
7. Miranda Ayim (Canada)
Another veteran on the Canadian team, who has attended two Olympics, going for the third. You would majorly see Natalie Achonwa feeding her with the assists. They both tend to share emotional moments together, like sisters who look after each other in times of need. Ayim has mastered the art of the baseline-reverse layup. At 6'3, she is a very competitive, who loves to rebound, plays defense and yes, watch out for those blocks!
8. Kristine Anigwe (England)
At 6'4, Anigwe debuted the British team, and for some unknown reason was benched by the coach Chema Buceta for two of their three games. She was allowed to play the second game against Korea, for 11 minutes and she scored three points, grabbed four rebounds and one steal.
9. Laeticia Amihere (Canada)
Currently 18 years of age, Amihere is a rookie on senior team Canada, who plays forward averaged four points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.5 assists; a good start as she graduated from the junior to senior team. She a graduate, from the University of South Carolina.
10. Monica Okoye (Japan)
Even though she did not feature at the just concluded #FIBAOQT, we could not help but notice her first appearance with Japan at the 2018 Women's World Cup. Then she averaged 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. Her brother, Louis Okoye plays baseball professionally. We hope to see her more in action soon.
That is all for now, and this so proves that we have the talent, resource and more to be successful.
By the way, this may not be all the Nigerian players out there that we noticed. We believe that there are more, especially those have non indigenous names.
Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers, Serbia - D'Tigress: Senior Women Nigeria National team did it again, defeating Mozambique emphatically, 85-51.
To what seemed slow, but surely team Nigeria under the leadership of Otis Hughley broke down the defense of Mozambique, while theirs appeared to be impenetrable.
Team Captain, #11 Adaora Elonu kept moving in stealth for those steals, buckets and block to the unsuspecting opponent.
Elonu had 10 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block
#10 Promise Amukamara rattled the opponents defense with her coordinated handles and shots, while #23 Ezinne Kalu charged her way through exhibiting similar damage.
Amukamara got 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals, while Kalu hit 11 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists and 1 steal.
All three players made the double digit mark, but what was more important; all players put their names on the score sheet.
The collective work of the players, hard work and a little luck has brought them this far, and it does not look like it is going to stop anytime soon.
Rookie player Elizabeth Bunmi Balogun caught the attention of the fans, with her scoring ability; creating openings for herself and feeding off team assists.
She made 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals with 16 minutes.
As Nigeria got this win, all indications points to an automatic qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. Notwithstanding, they need to keep winning.
Next match-up would be against home team Serbia; same time 17:00 (Nigerian)
Coming home after a while, Chinenye Ogwumike nicknamed “Chiney” paid visit to her mother’s Alma Mata; Queens College, Yaba Lagos; and prior to that Avi-Cenna International school, in a giveback quest.
The WNBA star, and sports Analyst on ESPN showed excitement, seeing the smiles on the young faces, while she interacted with them, signing autographs and sharing her experiences.
Moreso, she met with some of the players from the Nigerian league at Teslim Balogun stadium in a meet and greet moment and presentation.
While connecting with the players, she sent her elder sister’s regard Nneka, who was unavoidably absent on an assignment with team USA at the ongoing Olympic World Cup Qualifiers.
Speaking with the players, Chiney laid emphasis on Education: “As athletes, we should not ignore other aspects of our lives, rather set goals for ourselves and move toward achieving them”
“Nneka and I were horrible when we started playing basketball, but we were great academically. Nobody thought we would be this good in the game. With encouragement from our parents, we worked hard and it paid off” she said.
“Never use basketball as an excuse not to study, because we cannot do sports for the rest of our lives. When I had to sit out for two years due to injury, ESPN offered an opportunity to work with them as a Sports analyst. Education is the key.” She added.
“With basketball we can be what we want to be. Get a role model and a goal model. My sister is my goal model” she chuckled. “She worth emulating”
Meanwhile, Chineye gave off gifts such as balls, shoes, jerseys and equipment, sponsored by Adidas.
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.