By Joe Apu
Nigeria’s D’Tigress coach, Otis Hughley Jr. has admitted that team USA won’t be easy at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games according to news monitored on fiba.basketball.com
Nigeria will face world champions USA for the third time in as many years after the two sides were drawn in Group B along with hosts Japan and France for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics showdown this summer.
Quickly becoming a favorite tie to watch, the rivalry between the African champions and the holders yet again promises to produce much-needed sparks at the prestigious tournament that attracts the best 12 teams in the world.
Hughley Jr said, “Playing USA for the third time in almost as many years is exciting but very, very difficult and we won’t be able to surprise them. They will be ready like they will for everyone else. The USA expects to win every game that they play. We have now adapted that attitude as well. We are going to do our very best and to be the best versions of ourselves.
We are excited about that for sure.”
At the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 Quarter-Finals, USA made light work of Nigeria dismissing them 71-40, but at the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia in February last year, D’Tigress made amends and almost surprised the USA who closed the gap in the evening of the game to win 76-71.
However, that memory still lives with the Nigerians who will be seeking revenge in Tokyo and hoping to stun the world champions but head coach Otis Hughley Jr is cautious amidst a yearning to do their best at the big stage.
Nigeria will be playing at the Summer Olympics for the second time since their debut at Athens 2004, however, a lot has changed since their inaugural participation.
D’Tigress have gone unbeaten in Africa since they won the third-place playoff at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2015 in Cameroon to completely dominate the continent winning two back-to-back titles while establishing themselves as a rising force.