• As players await final 12-man squad
BY JOE APU
The camp of the Nigerian women’s national team, D’ Tigress at the weekend got a boost with Joyce Ekweremadu rejoining camp after the team returned from an international friendly against Turkey last week.
Her return to the team brings the number of players in camp to 17 after some players were decamped. Ekweremadu and Ify Ibekwe had been told that they had no chance to make the team to the Women Olympic Qualifying Tournament holding in Nantes, France June 13 if they failed to report to camp and that forced Ekweremadu to the team’s camp in Abuja.
With 17 players currently in camp and the team billed to travel out for the tournament in a few days time, the onus lies on the technical crew to drop five more players to achieve the 12-man team.
Players that were decamped before the team headed for Turkey include, Akaraiwe Nkem, Chinyere Juliet, Okeke Ebere, Umeh Gloria, Okpe Patience, Idoko Patience and Ibiam Elem.
Head coach of D’ Tigress, Scott Nnaji who expressed happiness at Ekweremadu rejoining the team said the task before him and his crew just got more tedious as her arrival has put pressure on others.
“I’m glad she realised that no player has a permanent place in the team. Every player here in camp is fighting hard to make an impact and with the two loses to Turkey, there’s still much to be done to be ready on time for the tournament,” he said.
Secretary General of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, Patrick Okeke speaking on visa issues for the team stated that he was hopeful that the French Embassy will honour the team’s request in good time for the team to make the trip to France to enable the time engage Argentina in her last friendly international encounter billed for June 8-9.
“We’re hopeful that the visas would be ready in good time for the team to travel out for the last preparatory matches that would put the players in good position for the qualifying tournament where we hope to grab one of the five tickets for the Rio Olympic Games.”
Nigeria was drawn against Belarus and Korea in Group C for the 2016 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament holding from June 13 through 16 in France.