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Fans want D’Tigress rewarded financially for retaining Afrobasket title

Afrobasket 2019: Buhari hails D’Tigress for victory
D’Tigress after defeating Senegal to retain the Afrobasket Women’s title

As basketball fans continue to celebrate Sunday’s D’Tigress triumph in retaining their Afrobasket Women’s Nation’s Cup title in Dakar, Senegal, they have urged the government to adequately reward the team financially.

The senior national women’s basketball team successfully defended the title they won in 2017 by defeating host country, Senegal, 60-55 in an epic final match.

The fans told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos that the team was wonderful and had again put Nigeria on the world map as a great basketball nation.

They also urged the wealthy in the country to contribute to the development of other sports by supporting them financially.

Ochuko Owolabi, a former D’Tigress assistant coach, said that she was happy for the team and for the nation, adding that the players earned their respect through hard work.

“It’s a great thing for the nation, we are proud of their achievements, the team and the coaching crew deserves a lot of financial reward.

“They have now been unbeaten in two Nations Cup, indeed it is a historic record which would stand the test of time.

“I urge the government to reward them well for this achievement and even double what they were given in the last edition,’’ Owolabi said.

Similarly, Adewunmi Aderemi, who is also a former assistant coach in the 2013 edition, told NAN that the team was fantastic and the players, true heroes of the country.

“The team is outstanding, they are young and vibrant in their approach and they can even win the 2021 edition with the right motivation and preparation.

“However, it is sad that in basketball and other sports you hardly hear the Aliko Dangotes and Femi Otedolas of this world coming to support financially.

“If it were football it would be another thing entirely; sincerely it is high time we give respect to other sports and not just football alone,’’ Aderemi said.

NAN reports that the team was outstanding throughout the tournament defeating all five oppositions to emerge victorious and retain their title.

With the victory Nigeria has now won the competition for a fourth time, replicating the 2003 and 2005 era when Nigeria won the championship back to back.

They also have qualified for a pre-2020 Olympics qualifiers to also hold in Senegal in November.

The team took the early lead in the first quarter recording a 14-10 scores to wage off boos from the intimidating crowd at the Dakar Arena.

The second quarter was also well contested but was not enough to shake the Nigerian team which played with a lot of determination and perfection.

The second quarter ended 32-24 but not with a good fight from the Senegalese team who closed in on D’Tigress to finish the third quarter at 48-34.

However, the game got tensed when the Senegalese tied 53-53 with just three minutes to wound up the match that electrified the Basketball Arena.

However, Nigeria’s Evelyn Akhator, team captain Adaora Elonu and Ezinne Kalu who undoubtedly are the best players in the tournament ensured the day was theirs.

Kalu was later named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament for her outstanding performance and great leadership.

She was joined by Akhtor as the best five players of the tournament. (NAN)

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