23rd August, 2010
Encomiums have continued to pour in for the senior national team,Â Dâ€™Tigers, for qualifying for the FIBA-Africa Nations Cup coming up in Cote dâ€™Ivoire next year.
The Nigerian team secured a ticket to play in the continental tourney at the just concluded FIBA-Africa Zone-III qualifiers held in Togo.
Stakeholders in the game believe the team did a good job with the qualification. They, however, advisedÂ Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, not to go to sleep, but give the team adequate preparation ahead of the championship.
Agboola Pinheiro, former Chairman of Lagos State Sports Council, praised Dâ€™Tigers for making Nigeria proud by winning the zonal qualifiers, but warned them not to be overwhelmed by their achievement, saying thatÂ the real job has just begun.
Pinheiro charged the Tijjani Umar- led NBBF board to makeÂ good preparation that will see Dâ€™Tigers training together as a team. This, according to him, will promote unity in the team ahead of the Nations Cup where the ticket to play in the 2012 Summer Olympics will be decided.
The former national team coach called on the technical crew to give every player equal chanceÂ in the formation of the team, in respective of where they are playing.
He said the best available players should be picked to fly the countryâ€™s flag at the Nations Cup, as Nigeria cannot afford not to be part of the next Olympics.
Another veteran coach, Alabi Adelanwa, also commended the Sani Ahmed tutored side for giving a good account of themselves at the zonal qualifiers.
The proprietor of Royal Basketball Academy is also of the view that the team should be prepared well for the championship.
â€œNigeria is blessed with more talents than most of the countries that did well at the last championship in Libya, but inadequate preparation has always been our problem in this country. NBBF should do all within its power to prepare the team very well,â€ Adelanwa said
He called on corporate organisations to support the team in preparation for the big game instead of sitting on the fence.
Femi Abioye, Sports Insurance Marketer, also wants the NBBF to prepare the team very well ahead of the Nations Cup, adding that Nigeria has the talent to rule the continent.