The gallant DíTigers, who came second at the FIBA Afrobasket Championship hosted by Senegal and Tunisia, are expected to return to Nigeria in the early hours of today. PHOTO: NBBF.
Nigeria now 34th in FIBA women ranking Silver medalists at the just-concluded FIBA Afrobasket championship, D’Tigers will return to Nigeria this morning aboard a Royal Air Maroc flight. The team will be without inspirational captain, Ike Diogu, who will head for United States of America due to family commitments.
The delegation, led by the Nigeria Basketball Federation President, Musa Kida, is expected to arrive at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at about 3.30 a.m.
The 2015 champions, who were just in camp for about two weeks before their title defence, surpassed their pre-tournament expectation by getting to the finals, defeating continental powerhouses like Senegal and Cameroun in the quarterfinal and semi finals respectively.
Although, Tunisia claimed the FIBA Afrobasket title after beating Nigeria 77-65 in Saturday’s Final in Tunis, DíTigers and their fans will still have something to cheer about with Diogu awarded the Most Valuable Player Award.
The DíTigers captain, who led by example, emerged the tournamentís leading scorer with an average of 22 points per game while guard, Ikenna Iroegbu, who made his Afrobasket debut for Nigeria, was also named in the tournamentís best five.
The 34-year-old power forward recorded a tournament-high average of 8.7 rebounds per game at the 16-team FIBA Africa’s most important competition.Despite the loss against the host, it will be a tournament to remember for Diogu who was the tournamentís highest scorer with a total of 132 points as he powered the DíTigers to the finals after emerging as the teamís highest points scorer in four of their six games.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s women team, DíTigress, has moved up in FIBA ranking to 34 in the world and fifth in Africa. This is a result of the team’s triumph at the women version of the Afrobasket Championship, which ended in Mali recently.