By Joe Apu
Captain of Nigeria’s national men’s winning team to the AfroBasket 2015 championship in Tunisia, Ike Diogu and NBA Washington Wizard’s Daniel Ochefu are off to Tunisia in defence of the AfroBasket title Nigeria won in 2015.
Diogu is returning to a familiar terrain in Tunisia and believes the Nigerian side is ready.
The captain who maintains that the team is under no pressure from the big nations like Angola, Senegal and Egypt is confident that despite the fact that Nigeria is presenting an entirely different team from the one that won the AfroBasket 2015 beating Angola in the final to lift the trophy for the first time in her history is capable of giving a good account of themselves.
“Nigeria may not have the bulk of players that won the trophy in 2015 but I can assure you that the present squad is out to give a good account of themselves. We’ll take every team as they come and restrict ourselves to the games for maximum concentration. We’re not underrating any team but as the champions, we know everyone would come out smoking to dislodge us. We’re in Tunisia to do our job and that is to defend the title.” Nigeria’s team squad is made up of 12 official players and two project players who the Nigeria Basketball Federation board led by Musa Kida says is for developmental process and the future.
The Nigeria squad boasts of four players from the Nigeria domestic league namely Azuoma Dike, Abdul Yahaya, Okaro Akamune and Kelechi Anuna with Deji Akindele, Byrant Mbamalu, Ike Nwamu, Akin Akingbala, Ike Iroegbu and Anthony Odunsi making up the list.
The duo of Musa Usman and Victor Koko Anthony will be in the team as observers.
Head of the technical crew Coach Alex Nwora says he has an open disposition to the team’s participation in Tunisia. “We may not have the same crop of players that everyone knew but we’re in Tunisia to give our best. Some of the players that were at the AfroBasket in 2015 have new contracts and some are injured but this competition must go on. As a professional coach, I am here to do my job of ensuring that Nigeria gives a good account of herself in this championship.
The team left on Royal AirMaroc this morning.