Mbamalu, Diogu, Aminu ready for African challenge

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Bryant Mbamalu

• Nwamu happy to be back

Captain Ike Diogu, Bryant Mbamalu, Al-Farouq Aminu and Ikechukwu Nwamu are among the Nigerian stars that have arrived in Lagos for the FIBA World Cup qualifying competition, which will see D’Tigers battling with Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Central African Republic for a pass to the Mundo du Coupe.

The 2019 World Cup qualifiers will hold from Friday to Sunday.Also in Coach Alex Nwora’s camp preparing for the qualifiers are Benjamin Uzoh and Ikenna Iroegbu.
According to the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), the D’Tigers complete squad will start final preparations for the competition today.Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, NBBF Media Officer, Afolabi Oni said all logistics for the success of the qualifiers has been put in place, adding that Senegal, Central Africa Republic and Cote d’Ivoire are expected to arrive in the country tomorrow.

The D’Tigers are currently topping Group F with 12 points from six games ahead of closest rival, Senegal with 11 points.Meanwhile, D’Tigers guard, Ikechukwu Nwamu has set his sight on learning as much as possible from the experienced members of the squad as they prepare for the World Cup qualifiers.

Nwamu, a member of the 2017 Afrobasket silver medal winning side, on arrival in camp on Sunday said, “I want to soak up much knowledge as possible being one of the younger guys in the team. So, I want to get their experiences and be able to add to my game moving forward.”Nwamu has not featured for the team since the Nations cup in Tunisia, but he said being part of the selected few alongside experienced hands likes Al-Farouq Aminu, Alade Aminu, Ike Diogu, Ben Uzoh and Stanley Okoye is a special feeling which any athlete will forever cherish.

“It’s very special, because you put on the green white green and get to represent your country and your family. It’s really a big deal. Not everybody can get to represent the country. So, for us to be able to do this, it’s a blessing.The guard said he would not be under pressure due to fans’ demands after his 2017 Afrobasket heroics.

“No pressure. It also gives you a sense of comfort because you have played at a high level to represent the country. So, it is just trying to do the same all over again for the next three games.”He said despite the pedigree of their opponents on the African continent, proper preparation, home support and self belief would play a major role in winning their games when they file out against them.