Nigeria certainly sent shivers down the spine of many with her performances in the Pre-World Cup build up with two wins over the Dominican Republic, one lose and a win over Canada and then winning the Peak International Tourney but much as it was a big boost to Coach Alex Nwora, he insists in this interview with Freethrow that the World Cup is s different kettle of tea and his team would compete despite the oppositions.
Nwora, who works with Erie Community College in Buffalo maintains that he is full of high expectations in China knowing that only the best teams are competing for honours.
How does it feel winning the Peak Tourney?
“The win in the Peak Tourney is a big boost to us in our build up to the World Cup and as we play our Group games, we hope to keep improving with every game. We still have a lot of work to do and build our team chemistry. Many of the teams at the World Cup have been playing together for a while. However, the players I have come with a skill set and knowing that they play in the NBA and other top clubs in Europe coupled with their desire to excel goes a long way for us.
How prepared are you as a Coach?
As a coach, one lives for challenges every day. To be able to coach at this level against the best in the world is very challenging. Thankfully, I have good coaching staff who are working to help the team achieve our set goals.
My assistants are good in their capacities with great experiences from the NBA.
How do feel not having the likes of Efevbare, Obekpa and Alade Aminu in the mix for the World Cup?
It’s a very challenging task because the players you talked about did very well. However, there are players now that are at a very high level and some of them could not make camp because of some paper work. It’s not about names but they have paid their dues but we need players that would make the difference for the country.
The performance that the players put up at the Peak Invitational played a strong role in the decision of the 12 players. Nigeria is one entity and as long as they are ready to play for Nigeria, they will always have room to star for the country. All the 44 players that were called up for the preliminary camps are very much loved but we can’t list more than 12.
Group B: Russia, Argentina and Korea, what’s your take on them?
They are all very well coached teams. We’re in a very tough group but we need to give it our best shot to be one of the two teams that would emerge from the group.
We have little information on our opponents but we’ll work based on the scouting report we got and hope sincerely that our players keep improving.
Is Nigeria under pressure playing in this World Cup?
There’s always pressure playing at the World Cup because you are no longer playing for yourself but for 200 million Nigerians. There’s going to be pressure as well as expectations from Nigerians. We’ve worked so hard to be here and I must give kudos to the Nigeria Basketball Federation President, Musa Kida and the board members for believing in us and all his sacrifices for the team to ensure that things work out very well all through the training camps from Buffalo, Dominican Republic, Atlanta, Canada, Nigeria and finally to China.
I must also commend Musa Adamu, the General Manager who is my back born for all the support. There’re so much sacrifices that have gone unnoticed and everyone needs to be appreciated.
What is your Target in the World Cup?
We are fighting to make an impact and if not, we might as well go home.