National Men’s Basketball team, D’Tigers will take on New Zealand Friday at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia as both teams fight for the three points at stake with the winner earning two points.
The Nigerian team ranked 32 by FIBA, is six places above their opponents. However, both teams will not have the services of some of their top players who are plying their trade in teams in the US and Europe.
Fortunately, the D’Tigers will bank on the experience of Captain Ike Diogu who has been the mainstay of the Nigerian for over six years. He led the Nigerian to the Afrobasket win in 2015 and led a completely new squad to win silver in 2017.
The team’s shooting guard, Azouma Dike has assured that the D’Tigers would do well against the Games. The Nigerian team also has Australia and Canada to contend with for a place in the next round.
The Alex Nwora side has a tough task but Dike is sure that they will do well at the Games. “We are set for the game against New Zealand. It is will be a very tough game but we are not scared of any team. We might not be as big as some teams in our group in terms of ranking but we are good to go.”
When he was reminded that experience matters in basketball, he answered: “Basketball is the same everywhere. We are not scared of the big names because it is a game where anything can happen, so we all have to bring our best performance into all the games.
“We can shock some teams. You can take that away from basketball because small teams have prospered against big teams in competitions. We have what it takes to do well and I believe in my teammates,” Dike added.
The team is captained by Others players are Uchenna Ireogbu (Stony Brooks, NCAA, USA) Dung Eli Abraham- (Kano Pillars (Nigeria) Azuoma Dike – (Kano Pillars, Nigeria) Olantunji Olalekan Graham- (Unattached, USA) Ofoegbu Uchechi Chima – (Unattached, USA) Musa Usman (Mark Mentors) Abdulwahab Yakubu (Gombe Bulls) Istifanus Sylvanus (Gombe Bulls) Abdul Yahaya (Kano Pillars) Achiuwa Godsgift Onyekachi (Unattached, USA) and Orizu Prince Ifeanyi (Far Eastern University, The Philippines).