D’Tigress Rue 2012 Olympic Ticket Loss

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Players and officials of Nigeria’s senior women national Basketball team, D’Tigress, have not stopped lamenting their failure to secure an Olympic ticket for the country at the just concluded 2011 Afrobasket in Bamako, Mali. The championship also served as qualifiers for the 2012 summer Olympics holding in London.

The Ayo Bakare-led team finished fourth at the biennial tournament, a performance that denied them the championship’s trophy and also, a place in the summer olympics.

Speaking after their loss to Mali, hosts of the championship,in the third and fourth place crucial match, captain of D’Tigress, Rashidat Sadiq, said: “It’s a great loss espeacially knowing how much trust Nigerians have put in them to at least win a ticket to the Olympics.”

Also reacting to their failure to get on the podium in Mali, coach of the team, Ayo Bakare said the players tried their best but they would have at least won the bronze medal if not for their loss of concentration during the match.

“Our ambition right from the outset was to win the trophy but unfortunately we couldn’t even finish on the podium and most painfully, we could not even make it to the pre-Olympic qualifiers.

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“We can only blame ourselves for this failure and hope that in the future we will be able to prove to Nigerians that we are sorry for letting them down,” a dejected Bakare said.

Finishing second or third would have guarranteed Nigeria a slot in another FIBA olympic qualifying tournament for Women. Instead, Mali and Senegal will play at the tournament for finishing third and second respectively.

Angola defeated defending champions, Senegal by 62-54 points in the final to become champions just over a month after the men’s national team, the powerhouse on the continent and a regular at Olympic Games, lost to Tunisia in the Afrobasket final in Madagascar.

—Bamidele Olowosagba