Haven qualified for the 2021 Afrobasket to be held in Rwanda after beating South Sudan with two games to spare, D’Tigers made sure they finished strong with their unbeaten record still intact by beating Mali in the last qualifier game. With an impressive 6-0 qualifiers record, D’Tigers walk gallantly into the tournament proper.
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The game was much better than the game against Rwanda which saw D’Tigers look so weak in defence and attack save for a second-half improvement. The Nigerian side won by 20 points (56-76). Team captain, Ike Diogu finished as top scorer with a double-double. He scored 20 points and 11 rebounds, Michael Patrick Gbinije finished the game with 10 point-3 rebounds-1 assist, Obi Emegano ended with 10 points-8 rebounds-1 assist while Keith Omoerah scored 10 points.
The Mfon Udofia led side took the initiative in the first quarter winning 8-24, they just about edged it in the second quarter 17-18 but took the third quarter by four points (16-20). Losing the fourth quarter 15-14, meant nothing as the job had already been done in the first three quarters.
Undefeated. 🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/98Pge0EFER
— D’Tigers | Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) February 19, 2021
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D’Tigers go into the Afrobasket tournament maintaining their number one rank in Africa. Veteran, Ike Diogu, after the game had this to say when asked about the team’s objectives for the Afrobasket coming up later this year:
‘To win just like everybody else. Everybody else wants to win, same thing for us too. We want to try and establish being the best in Africa just like the rest of the other teams.’
Without the head coach, Mike Brown, D’Tigers were able to hold their own against their much-improved opponents, throughout the qualifiers. The focus now shifts to preparation for the summer Olympics in Tokyo where D’Tigers have been placed in Group B against Australia but will have to wait for the outcome of the qualification tournaments in Serbia and Croatia to know the countries that will complete the group.
Featured Image Source: @NigeriaBasket – Twitter
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