As the Nigerian male basketball team heads for the Tokyo Olympics, they will be aware of the fact that no African team has medaled, and none has gone past the preliminary stage.
However, the team’s head coach, Mike Brown, is hopeful that he can rally his team to a great performance.
Sports wagering fans on the best betting sites in Africa will be following the team’s performances closely. They will not be interested in winning bets only; they will also be concerned about the pride of Africa.
Nigeria’s national team is the only African basketball team to qualify for the Olympics. Moreover, it could be the only representative at this year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
The coach stated that his team was counting on the support of Nigerians and the whole of Africa. He also said that other African countries have the chance to qualify. However, he acknowledged that it would be tricky for the other African countries to qualify as there were only four slots left.
The head coach is also optimistic that the Nigerians can manage what no other African country has ever done in the Olympics. He argued that there were more players of Nigerian descent in the NBA than all other countries apart from the US. In this regard, he feels like his team has the talent to do better in Tokyo.
Mr. Brown stated that the talent is there, and his assignment was simple. According to him, the things he has to do include getting everyone organized and on the same page.
He also wants to ensure that all his players are excited about playing and want to be part of a history-making team. The manager is excited about blending the talent from the NBA and those playing professional basketball in Europe.
However, Mr. Brown did not disclose which NBA players are on the D’Tigers’ training camp roster. But reliable sources claim that NBA players Al Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu, Wes Iwundu, Jahlil Okafor, and Monte Morris are expected to make it to the list.
The team will train in Oakland, California. They will also take part in exhibition matches in Las Vegas in preparation for the Olympics.
According to Mr. Brown, the team chose to train in the US because of the NBA players’ quarantine processes if they traveled to other countries.
The coaching staff arrived in the US on June 17. They will consider 35 players before narrowing down the list to 12 who will head to Tokyo.
Apart from the exhibition matches in Vegas, the team will also play other matches in Australia and Argentina. It will then return to Oakland before heading to Japan.
Brown has an excellent resume as a basketball coach. He has coached Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.
However, he claimed that he had spent much of his off-season time concentrating on the Olympics. Nigerians will be hoping that the words of Nelson Mandela will inspire the team to bring home a medal.
Mandela claimed that the world would not value Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. He also stated that black people of the world need Nigeria to be great so that it can be a source of Africa’s pride and confidence.