16th August, 2010
Nigeriaâ€™s basketball national team, Dâ€™Tigers, have secured tickets to feature in next yearâ€™s FIBA-Africa Nations Cup in Cote dâ€™Ivoire and All African Games in Zambia.
Dâ€™Tigers, will this evening at 7 pm Nigeria time, take on Cote dâ€™Ivoire in their last match at the ongoing FIBA-Africa Zone III Nations Cup and 2011 All Africa Games qualifiers in Lome, Togo.
The Sani Ahmed-tutored side picked one of the two tickets available for the zone at the Nations Cup, having defeated Benin Republic twice in the qualifiers.
They also defeated Cote dâ€™Ivoire in aÂ match played last week Thursday to lead the table with just one loss to the hosts, Togo. Todayâ€™s match is a formality.
President of Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, Tijjani Umar, told Basketball Timeout before the commencement of the qualifiers that the federationâ€™s immediate assignment after the national women Under 18 team secured a ticket to next yearâ€™s FIBA-World Championship, is to leadÂ Dâ€™Tigers to pick a ticket for the Nations Cup.
This will be the first step to playing in the basketball event of the 2012 London Olympics. He said that African countries that will feature in the Olympics will be decided at the Nations Cup.
One of Nigerian players, Dike Azuoma, told Basketball Timeout on telephone after their victory over Benin Republic on Saturday that theyÂ achievedÂ their mission to the qualifiers by pickingÂ a ticket for the Nations Cup.Â He said that the teamâ€™s next target is to make Nigerian proud in the two championships.
Cote dâ€™Ivoire are also sure of playing at the FIBA-Africa Nations Cup having qualified automatically as hosts of the championship.
Togoâ€™s clash with Benin Republic at 9 pm Nigeria time tonight will decide who picks the remaining ticket for the competitions.
The Ivoriens had earlier beaten Togo who are in third place twice in the qualifiers and Benin Republic in their first clash. Togo won their first match against Benin Republic. A victory for them tonight will take them to the Nations Cup.