D’Tigers blame poor planning, neglect for failure at FIBA qualifiers

Nigeria would have done better at the just-ended first window of the 2025 AfroBasket qualifiers in Monastir, Tunisia, if the team had enough support and time to prepare for the championship, the players and their officials have said.

Nigeria arrived in Monastir on the opening day of the championship and barely three hours after landing in the city took on Libya in their opening game and lost.

The victory over the 2015 champions was Libya’s first success in the championship in over 20 years. D’Tigers lost their second game to Uganda and ended the campaign on another losing note, this time to Cape Verde.

Unlike the other teams in Group B, Nigeria could only muster nine out of the 12 players required to make up a squad.

Speaking on the ill-fated campaign, D’Tigers Coach, Abdulrahman Mohammed, praised his boys for surmounting all odds to feature in the championship, adding that their lack of preparation showed in their matches.

In a video posted on D’Tigers’ X (formerly twitter) handle, Mohammed said: “If we get our acts together and we get the necessary support in terms of funding, we will prepare much earlier, we will be fine. If we had some few practice sessions, we would have taken care of most of the mistakes we made here and it would be a different ball game. If we have the same team and get time to practice, we will be better than this.”

He advised the Federal Government and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) to find ways of ensuring that the country’s teams go to such competitions well equipped.

Also praising the team for putting up top performance despite the difficult situations, WNBA star, Nneka Ogwumike, said Nigeria has the potential to be the greatest team in the world, but lacks the structure to achieve that.

She said: “Imeela! (thank you), imagine what could be achieved with proper support.”

One of the stand out players in the country’s failed bid for success in Tunisia, Bright Osagie Akhuetie, also blamed poor planning for the team’s poor outing at the AfroBasket qualifiers. He said: “Coming out here without even practicing…we have to structure and prepare as a team. Imagine if we stayed (together) for a month, we would have done better.”

The D’Tigers lost 78-62 to Cape Verde the first qualifying window of the 2025 FIBA AfroBasket.

The defeat was Nigeria’s third consecutive loss of the qualification tourney after losing the previous games against Libya and Uganda.

Like the earlier two games, only nine players from the 12 names on D’Tigers’ roster were available for the match against Cape Verde.

D’Tigers would need an improved performance when the second phase of the qualifiers commences in February 2025 as only the group’s top three teams will qualify for the 2025 FIBA AfroBasket.

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