25th April, 2012
Head coach of Nigeria senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, Ayo Bakare, has assured players in the domestic league four slots for the Olympic qualification tournament slated for 2-8 July, in Caracas, Venezuela.
Speaking at the end of a three- day first phase Olympic camping at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos at the weekend, Bakare expressed delight over the performance of the 14 home-based players during the training period.
“I must praise players from the domestic league for responding positively to training and the coaching crew (Sani Ahmed and Ayinla Johnson) for their full support in camp.
“I can beat my chest and say confidently that Nigeria will rule Africa from the next Afrobasket. I say this because we have already set our target for the competition which is easy for any coach to follow and improve on.
“With what we saw during the camping, I’m sure that at least six of the home-based players will make the final preparation for the Olympic qualification tournament with at least four of them making it to Venezuela” he said.
Bakare, who qualified Nigeria for its maiden FIBA World Championship outing in 1998, commended the impact of the DSTV-sponsored league on the local players, and tipped them for future dominance of the national team.
“The coming of MultiChoice (owner of DStv/SuperSport) into the Nigeria basketball scene has really changed the face of Nigerian basketball.
“I can say confidently that the home-based players will in no time form the bulk of our national team with proper planning and exposure which must include foreign training tours.”